About the Energy Initiative

The Energy Initiative is a collective of planners, designers, and others with an interest in the intersection between the spaces we inhabit and the ever-shifting sources of the energy we consume. The initiative provides a forum for discussion, investigation, and contribution to the advancement of collective knowledge of the planning and design professional fields in the area of energy.

For more information about the Northern Section Energy Initiative, contact us.

Recent News

The West’s wildfires collide with its housing crisis

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, Sept. 18, 2020. Oregon was short 155,000 homes before fires destroyed thousands more, including one county’s most affordable.

New research: Success for Santa Clara County homeless housing program

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, Sept. 17, 2020. Results of the study are significant because this type of program has rarely been studied using a control group.

Northern News October 2020

Above, Marin sun and smoke © George Osner, AICP, 9-1-20. In this issue: Meet a local planner • Celebrate 2020’s best with new hashtag • and Planning news roundup has you covered, ICYMI

State housing mandate doubles Bay Area production target

By Susan Steimle, CBS SF Bay Area, September 10, 2020. The new RHNA numbers are out and they’re higher than ever before.

Orange skies across California as wildfire smoke blankets state

By Lori A. Carter, The Press Democrat, Sept. 9, 2020. The ‘creepy, eerie’ sky colors seen Wednesday were caused by particles in the smoke that scattered blue light.

$1B development would bring 850 housing units to SF waterfront

By Joshua Sabatini, The San Francisco Examiner September 8, 2020. The proposal creatively redevelops the site, using the state’s density bonus to achieve viability.

Google village: Legislative flop impacts downtown San Jose project

By George Avalos, The Mercury News, Sept. 4, 2020. To get streamlined review, the project would need the governor’s certification or a special legislative session.

Housing solutions fizzle in legislature

By Ethan Elkind, September 3, 2020. Housing policy impacts all of our major societal problems: racial injustice, segregation, greenhouse gas emissions, economic inequality.

NACTO: Despite pandemic, micromobility is here to stay

By Chris Teale, SmartCities Dive, September 2, 2020. Shared bikes and e-scooters saw 136 million trips in 2019, up 60% from 2018.

San Jose passes new fees for funding affordable housing

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, September 2, 2020. New commercial linkage fees give the city another affordable housing funding stream.

Lafayette’s controversial ‘Terraces’ apartments approved

By Sam Richards, Bay City News Foundation, August 25, 2020. The 315-unit project epitomizes the regional debate about where and how housing is developed.

Decades of racist housing policy left neighborhoods sweltering

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, August 24, 2020. Research shows formerly redlined urban areas experience higher summer temperatures.

The price of saving Paradise

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, August 25, 2020. “The fire was a monumental event and altered people’s way of thinking about things,” including whether the entire community should be surrounded by defensible space.

SF sees historic shift in housing inventory

By Andrew Chamings, SFGate, August 15, 2020. The convergence of coronavirus and the high cost of homeownership in San Francisco may have caused residents to leave for California’s less costly regions.

SF finally approves 1,100 homes at Balboa Reservoir

By Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2020. The new project includes 550 affordable units, of which 150 are reserved for City College teachers and staff.

New research: Advancing environmental justice while rebuilding existing locally unwanted land uses

By Miriam Solis, Planetizen, August 11, 2020. A case study of a San Francisco wastewater plant considers the consequences of redeveloping, rather than siting, a locally unwanted land use.

Portland passes the ‘most pro-housing reform’ to low-density zones in US history

By Michael Andersen, Sightline Institute, August 11, 2020. Portland’s new upzoning reforms allow for a wide range of “middle housing” citywide and removes parking mandates from most residential land.

Report: Single-family zoning dominates Bay Area housing, presenting barrier to integration

By Marc Abizeid, UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, August 11, 2020. From the first-ever analysis of the proportion of single-family zoning in every Bay Area jurisdiction comes five general policy approaches to help address racial residential segregation.

Minor reparations

By Roxane Gay, Work Friend, The New York Times, August 9, 2020. It is absolutely unacceptable that your agency is asking you to spend your own money to improve the agency’s thinking and efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Sales tax to fund Caltrain will go before voters

Bay City News Service, Mountain View Voice, August 8, 2020. The tax would generate the necessary funding to operate the imperiled system if ultimately approved by two-thirds of voters across three affected counties.

Study: Marin to experience worst traffic delays from sea level rise

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, August 7, 2020. A new Stanford study shows the North Bay may receive less flooding compared to other parts of the Bay Area, but the flooding occurs at critical connections where few alternative routes exist.

How do households describe where they live?

By Shawn Bucholtz, The Edge, August 6, 2020. New survey data collected by HUD and the US Census Bureau shows most people view themselves as living in suburbs, even those who live in central cities.

Nonmembers ask APA to support defunding the police

By Brentin Mock, Bloomberg CityLab, August 6, 2020. A letter with hundreds of signatories from across the planning field argues that planning decisions have historically contributed to police violence and harassment of Black people.

Bay Area cities reluctantly approve housing in face of state laws

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. From San Bruno to Castro Valley to Lafayette, major Bay Area housing approvals have been compelled by SB 35 and SB 330.

Sausalito confronts historic inequities, considers affordable housing on its waterfront

J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. After a general plan change, Sausalito residents argue whether to expand light industry or allow some senior or affordable housing.

Opinion: We must plan racial justice in our cities

By Dorothy Walker, Streetsblog USA, August 3, 2020. Dorothy Walker, founding president of APA, says cities’ local land-use decisions are “ripe for transformation” to lower barriers to housing for the “disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and the community at large.”

Revised SB 35 Guidelines near completion

William Fulton, CP&DR, August 2, 2020. The Department of Housing and Community Development has released a draft of updated guidelines for implementing SB 35 locally.

After 250 Years, Tribe regains Big Sur ancestral lands

By Kyle Edwards, Native News Online, July 29, 2020. The Esselen tribe plans to use the land to revitalize, and educate the public about, its culture, traditional ceremonies, and history.

Caltrans’ Low Carbon Transit Operations grants go to three North Coast jurisdictions

By Nazy Javid, KRCR News, July 29, 2020. The grants support free fares to populations that include low-income residents, youth and college students.

Northern News September 2020

(Photo: H-P garage, the 1938 birthplace of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto) This jam-packed issue has 29 articles: Nine cover some aspect of housing. And two former Section Directors tell us how planning is changing.

Northern News July-August 2020

(BLM Plaza, Washington, by Victoria Pickering bit.ly/3eZwi9A) In this double issue, six of eight featured articles, three of 10 under Northern Section, and five of 10 in the news roundup deal with Covid or BLM.

Caltrain’s future in limbo after Santa Clara County defers tax measure

By Luke Johnson, San Jose Spotlight, July 22, 2020. County lawmakers considered a proposed ballot measure for a one-eighth cent sales tax to prevent Caltrain from potentially shutting down, ultimately deferring a vote on the proposal to a special meeting on August 6.

The pandemic has pushed aside city planning rules, but to whose benefit?

By Emily Badger, The New York Times, July 20, 2020. As bike lanes and cafes sprout on streets, marginalized residents wonder when their priorities will get attention.

HCD awards millions to Northern Section cities for infill infrastructure

By Alicia Murillo, July 13, 2020. Approximately $279 million was awarded from the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019-2020, of which Northern Section cities received 44 percent.

Socially-distant community engagement: What we know

By Alyssa Chung, Meredith Rupp, and Carla Violet, July 23, 2020. What can we learn from planners who have adjusted their outreach to conform to social distancing protocols? Photo: Screenshot of an online presentation of a site plan to a virtual audience.

Meet a local planner: Lina Velasco, AICP

Lina Velasco, AICP, Community Development Director for the City of Richmond, holds a master of community and regional planning from Cornell University. She discusses her work, professional views, and issues in her city. Interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP, July 2020.

Patience, planners; patience

(Zoning, San Luis Ranch Specific Plan, San Luis Obispo) By Henry Pontarelli, July 8, 2020. Don’t expect to see cities transformed before your eyes during your planning career. Consensus is hard fought and hard earned, funding is scarce, conviction comes in cycles; but incremental change will build to meet collective goals.

Equitably resolving public space in the time of Covid-19

(BLM Plaza, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Pickering, https://bit.ly/3eZwi9A) By Georgia Sarkin, AICP, July 6, 2020. How can cities evolve for the better after Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter? Five factors affecting public space are crucial to consider — infrastructure, evolution, density, mobility, and equity.

Virtual vs. in-person community meetings

(Photo: William Cooley) By Sajuti Rahman Haque, June 29, 2020. Community meeting and engagement tactics are evolving to accommodate Covid-19 distancing orders, but key characteristics of in-person, physically present meetings remain invaluable.

Pandemic call and response: Planners protecting and promoting health

(Dolores Park photo by Christopher Michel https://bit.ly/3j1OlhJ) After nearly 200 interviews with local governments, planners, and communities, Diana Benitez and Jessica Medina report on actions being taken to protect community health, and implications for implementing SB1000, the Planning for Healthy Communities Act.

A rewarding profession

(Photo: Tom Rumble, https://bit.ly/3esvlpo) By David Woltering, AICP, June 24, 2020. Despite its challenges, our profession is a noble one. This business of creating and maintaining safe, healthy, and livable communities for all can be immensely satisfying and extremely interesting.

Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded — planners want to make it more equitable, too

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2020. Only July 10, Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission released a draft of Plan Bay Area 2050 for public comment. It emphasizes 25 “bold strategies” for making the region “affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.”

“After years of debate,” San Jose may charge non-residential developers to support affordable housing

By Sonya Herrera, San Jose Spotlight, July 18, 2020. The commercial linkage fee will go to the City Council on Aug. 25 and become effective on Nov. 14, if adopted.

Riots long ago seeded luxury living today

From The New York Times, July 16, 2020, comes another perceptive article on gentrification and race by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui. High-end development has transformed some Black neighborhoods into high-end development decades after they were scarred by unrest.

The 15-minute city as Covid-19 recovery

By Patrick Sisson, CityLab, July 15, 2020. To improve quality of life for an urbanite and boost the possibilities for municipal and economic recovery, you need to reduce the access radius for six essential functions: Living-dwelling, working, supplying and buying, well-being and caring, learning, and leisure.

The hidden toll of California’s Black exodus

By Lauren Hepler, CalMatters, July 15, 2020. Old regimes of housing and job discrimination have given way to predatory loans, disinvestment, and flare-ups of racism or violence in areas that once promised a level playing field.

‘A mini-urban miracle,’ new Berkeley homeless housing could be model for the state

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, July 10, 2020. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved a new supportive housing complex that substantially lowered development costs through modular construction.

One to four: the market potential of fourplexes in California’s single-family neighborhoods

By Paavo Monkkonen, Ian Carlton, and Kate Macfarlane, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, July 7, 2020. HCD guidelines emphasize realistic assessment of market and site capacity for new housing. Legislative efforts to promote fourplexes led UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies to analyze their feasibility on 6.8 million existing single-family home parcels.

New research: “Eighty-five percent solution: historical look at crowdsourcing speed limits and the question of safety”

By Brian D. Taylor and Yu Hong Hwang, June 30, 2020. The “85th percentile rule” has been used for decades to set speed limits in jurisdictions across the US. New research shows it originated earlier than most thought, and it was intended as a starting point in setting speed limits, not a firm guideline.

Who’s Where

News about Deland Chan, AICP; Afshan Hamid, AICP; Beth Altshuler Munoz; William (Billy) Riggs, PhD, AICP; Kyle Rose; Matthew Taecker, AICP; and Libby Tyler, PhD, FAICP.

A woman’s place is in the city

By Marisa Schulz, Next City, July 17, 2020. Listen to women; they are experts on the relationship between everyday life and the city. Unfortunately, women’s needs and viewpoints are underrepresented in cities.

General Plan Guideline alert: Environmental Justice

From OPR, June 24, 2020. This resource expands on the preliminary guidance provided in the 2017 General Plan Guidelines regarding environmental justice (EJ).

AICP | CM: Covid Conversations with APA New York Metro Chapter and PLANRED, Chile

By Alex Hinds and Hing Wong, AICP, July 24, 2020. The first webinar was recorded and posted. You can register for webinar Session 2 on July 30.

4 International experts on ZOOM: Cal Poly SLO CRP’s Spring 2020 series

Access to these lectures, sponsored by the City and Regional Planning Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has been provided to you by Professor Vicente del Rio, PhD.

Earn required CM credits by viewing July’s law seminar

By Libby Tyler, FAICP, July 20, 2020. We’ve made it easy for you. View the webinar video and log your mandatory 1.5 AICP Certification Maintenance Law credits.

Graduating into a pandemic-afflicted world

(Photo: Brooke Cagle, cropped) In a four-minute video, Atisha Varshney, AICP, offers five tips for new graduates navigating the Covid-19 job market, and issues an invitation to join virtual roundtable discussions.

Director’s note

“Planning for equity and inclusion,” by Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, July 22, 2020. Take the time to understand our biases. Encourage our employers to offer bias training. There’s no action too small to start on this journey.

San José General Plan review and Station Area Advisory Group reconvening

Via email from Leslye Corsiglia, SV@Home, June 11, 2020. The SAAG will meet for the first time since January. All are welcome. Take the opportunity to offer feedback on the City’s most recent analyses and proposals related to the Diridon Station Area Plan. The General Plan Four-Year Review Task Force is also restarting, with the first video meeting June 25.

Nine pathways to much-needed housing

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP, June 3, 2020. Desperately-needed new housing can be added if we upgrade zoning and design standards and adopt policies that promote smart density, protect existing residents, and preserve affordable homes.

APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality

To read the APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality, May 31, 2020, go to  https://www.planning.org/policy/statements/2020/may31/ ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Bay Area billionaires are breaking my heart

By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times, May 13, 2020. Rebuilding a fairer, more livable urban environment will take years of difficult work. It will require sacrifices from the wealthy.

Housing, the environment, the virus, and public transportation

Brief synopses of articles of interest to urban planners in addition to our longer summaries in “Planning news roundup.”

Northern News June 2020

(Photo: Part of an Earth Day project, Alto International School, Menlo Park) Local government planning in a post-COVID-19 world • TDM in a post-pandemic world • Reflections between Zoom meetings • Meet a local planner • Director’s note • Where in the world • Who’s where • Planning news roundup

Caltrain faces ‘existential crisis’

By Isabella Jibilian, San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 2020. Unlike BART and Muni, Caltrain is not funded by sales or property taxes. It depends on fares and parking fees to say afloat.

Second SB 35 ruling lets Vallco project proceed

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, May 7, 2020. Ruling ends a years-long battle over massive redevelopment of failed shopping mall in Cupertino. Decisions in two SB 35 cases say cities must apply objective design and planning standards in a very clear way.

Will telecommuting yield the best long-term environmental benefit of COVID-19?

By Ethan Elkind, May 4, 2020. Working from home seems the most likely candidate for a pandemic culture-changer that reduces emissions.

Mobility: Who is moving and why?

By Riordan Frost, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, May 4, 2020. Seven questions and answers about potential changes in residential mobility.

California shrinks; still most populous state

By Associated Press, May 2, 2020. California has been creeping toward 40 million residents without ever quite getting there.

Milan mayor: ‘People are ready’ for green change

By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 4, 2020. Milan comes out of COVID-19 lockdown with a climate-conscious attitude, encouraging other cities to follow.

The last time VMT dropped this sharply? WWII gas rationing

By Jeff Davis, Eno Center for Transportation, April 8, 2020. Gas rationing wasn’t rolled out to the whole country until December 1, 1942. But the VMT reductions were obvious as soon as rationing started in the East six months earlier.

The perfect planning job might not be possible right now

Excerpted from a May 4 blog post on APA Los Angeles by Richard Willson, Ph.D., FAICP, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Cal Poly Pomona. Most planners bring a sense of idealism to their chosen profession.

Density isn’t easy, but it’s necessary

By Bruce Schaller, CityLab, May 4, 2020. Americans have always had difficulty with urban density, but in a crisis, we need what cities can provide. (Schaller is the former deputy commissioner of traffic and planning at the New York City Transportation Dept.)

Can we sustain a world without traffic?

By Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbine, Brookings, May 1, 2020. If leaders encourage telework, alter revenues structures, and retrofit roadways, the nation can emerge from the pandemic with stronger and safer transportation.

Northern News May 2020

(Above: Guadalupe River Trail, Jason Su) • Avery Livengood, AICP: Green gentrification • From past Section Directors: Marlene Stevenson, Darcy Kremin, AICP • “Meet a local planner” in academe • Audrey Shiramizu: TDM post-pandemic • Micromobility can rebuild cities (Next City) • Where in the world • Who’s where • “What will our future look like?” • TWO news roundups.

VTA drops plan for massive S.J. BART tunnel

By Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, April 19, 2020. Bold plans for deep downtown San Jose stations raised red flags.

Who’s where

Job change write-ups for Shannon Hake, AICP; Michael Hart; Greg Holisko, AICP; Andrea Mardesich; Lisa Porras, AICP; Ralph B. McLaughlin; Destiny Preston; Kevin Riley, and Matt VanHua, AICP, were curated by associate editor Richard L. Davis.

COVID-19 planning roundup

By Richard L. Davis, associate editor, April 14, 2020. Our editors saw many articles about COVID-19’s effects on urban planning. These 10 summaries are relevant, informative, yet much shorter than those in ‘Planning news roundup.’

Approval process for Balboa Reservoir project gets underway

By Ida Mojadad, San Francisco Examiner, April 9, 2020. After six years of public hearings, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for an 1,100-unit complex. Half of the units are to be permanently affordable for those with up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

APA names AICP Fellows for 2020

From APA, March 25, 2020. One member from APA Northern Section was inducted with this year’s class of 53.

Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic

By Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings, April 6, 2020. Telecommuting has been the fastest-growing method of commuting over the last several years. The pandemic promises to accelerate this trend dramatically.

Rapid urbanization abroad threatens old buildings, traditional markets

By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 1, 2020. Losing heritage to modernization is not inevitable, but it requires careful choices as to what should go, what should stay, and what should come in place of things that are removed.

Director’s note: What will our future look like?

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, April 15, 2020. When and as restrictions on travel and assembly are gradually lifted under State guidance, implementation will largely be local. Planners should continue to lead by example, learn from others, and adapt as needed.

First-ever regionwide analysis of sea level rise impacts on Bay Area

Adapting to Rising Tides (ART), a program of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), was made available as a short summary report and main report on March 31.

What now for dense housing near transit?

By Debra Kahn, Politico, March 27, 2020. Opponents of infill and transit-oriented development are blaming population density as a primary factor behind the pandemic’s spread in urban areas.

Coronavirus: Fate of Lafayette’s big housing plan postponed

By Jon Kawamoto, East Bay Times, March 26, 2020. Only four more public hearings can be scheduled before Lafayette’s planning commission must decide on the controversial, 315-unit housing plan.

Boost for BART: Economic deal could send $1.3 billion to Bay Area public transit systems

By Nico Savidge, East Bay Times, March 25, 2020. Federal funds expected to provide some relief for BART as revenue from tickets and parking fees sharply declines.

Bay Area’s largest housing development appears dead

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2020. Over labor issues, Concord’s City Council declined to extend negotiations with a building group hoping to redevelop a 5,000-acre former military base. As costs have soared, the many proposed community benefits no longer appeared financially feasible to the developer.

Coronavirus: Lockdowns slow Bay Area home construction, future projects

By Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, March 23, 2020. Housing developers are concerned that the shift by local governments to virtual planning and inspection could hamper their ability to meet tight construction deadlines.

Could coronavirus collide with wildfire season? California is preparing for it

By J.D. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2020. Emergency officials in Sonoma County are already planning for the potential problems of wildfires and COVID-19 occurring at the same time.

UBC expert: How coronavirus will impact future cities

By Lou Corpuz-Bosshart, UBC News, March 23, 2020. Regional housing inequality needs to be addressed. It makes no sense to continue a trend where increasingly the rich live in Vancouver and wage earners who provide services to the city are being forced further and further east.

Tackling transportation emissions in California — or ignoring them

By Melanie Curry, StreetsBlog Cal, March 5, 2020. Early in March, two California Senate committees held a joint hearing on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, the state’s highest-emitting sector.

“Grieving for my sick city”

By Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, March 17, 2020. “When the Corona virus emergency is over, people are likely to emerge into fundamentally changed cities, with economies in crisis, and beloved restaurants, businesses, and cultural institutions gone for good. I wonder if our cultural romance with urban living will recover.”

As residents grapple with smog, Vietnam pushes renewable energy

By Michael Tatarski, New Naratif, March 16, 2020. Vietnam is often portrayed with bountiful economic opportunities for people across classes. But the construction and development that boosts economic growth is affecting health and quality of life, leaving people to deal with the situation according to their means.

Cities fighting climate woes hasten “green gentrification”

By Adam Rogers for Wired.com, February 23, 2020. Scholars say newly constructed flood-fighting infrastructure has promoted gentrification. In 2017, Northern News covered efforts in North Richmond to foster shoreline resilience without displacement.

Antioch, CA, ‘Last bastion of the good commute’ in the Bay Area

By Candace Jackson, The New York Times, February 25, 2020. The Times’ Real Estate section highlighted Antioch for its relatively affordable housing and BART access. We have included a response from Antioch’s Community Development Director at the end of the article.

Transportation Trends for 2020 (and what cities can do about them)

William Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP, a professor of management at USF, reviews emerging trends in mobility and recommends city practices to foster positive aspects of these trends.

San Jose opens first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, February 27, 2020. Forty tiny homes and supportive services dedicated for the homeless have opened near the San Jose Flea Market, about three miles north of downtown, on a site owned by the Valley Transportation Agency.

San Francisco debates when, where, and how to build affordable housing

By Sasha Perigo, San Francisco Examiner, March 8, 2020. San Francisco voters passed Proposition E, “The Balanced Development Act,” which ties the City’s cap on approved office space construction to its progress on the State’s affordable housing goals.

Report: SF must build taller, expand into western neighborhoods

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, March 9, 2020. San Francisco’s Planning Department released a Housing Affordability Strategy that identifies the current state of the City’s housing, and three core strategies.

Scott Weiner has another bill to build denser housing in California

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2020. Senator Wiener’s SB 902 would allow by-right development of multi-unit housing in single-family zones statewide, while scaling the number of allowable units to city size.

San Jose’s Measure E passes; will fund homelessness services and affordable housing

By Richard Davis, associate editor. San Jose voters have likely passed Measure E, a new funding source for affordable housing and homelessness support programs funded by a property sale transaction tax.

Northern News April 2020

All of us are dealing with a loss of normalcy. Your editors have met the challenge with another issue of locally authored articles, announcements, and interesting news summaries. As we planners physically separate from one another, let’s challenge our professional selves to maintain an abiding sense of service to, and caring for, our communities. (Photo: An empty Facebook campus on March 12.)

Dozens of homeless find housing in downtown San Jose

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, March 6, 2020. Villas on the Park — permanent supportive housing partially funded by the county’s $950 million affordable housing bond — has opened in downtown San Jose.


Due to concerns about limiting in-person events during the coronavirus outbreak, NORTHERN SECTION is cancelling the annual ethics/law training event previously scheduled for March 21, 2020, at the Alameda County Training and Education Center in Oakland. If you still need Ethics credits, you may view the webinar on the Ethics Cases of the Year presented


The AICP Exam Prep class on March 21st has been CANCELLED, along with all classes at UC Berkeley, due to COVID-19. ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Marina CA shows cities can retreat from rising seas

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2020. Sea walls are forbidden, real estate sales must disclose sea level rise, and the city is working to move infrastructure and resort properties away from the water.

Northern News March 2020

(Photo: Chris Hadfield, NASA, 2014.) In this issue: BART progresses toward developing land at its stations under AB 2923. A 2019 book addresses the disinvestment/investment conundrum. Making it easier to negotiate the maze of Bay Area transit agencies. Deadline March 13 for Section Award nominations. Plus “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and a note from our new Director.

Public meetings are broken. Here’s how to fix them.

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed, February 12, 2020. The traditional public meeting can be exclusionary and does not often result in the kind of participation and experiences for citizens that encourage feedback. But the current public hearing process can be enhanced, and there are alternatives to be considered.

A plan to combine the Bay Area’s dozens of transit networks

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed, February 5, 2020. A new bill would establish a single universal bus fare across the Bay Area, create a combined transit map and departure time reference, and develop a transfer that works across every transit line.

Fighting sea level rise the natural way

In an interview by Lori Pottinger, PPIC, on February 3, 2020, Letitia Grenier speaks of the huge potential to work across jurisdictions and redesign systems to let natural processes solve some of our more complicated flooding problems.

Danville ballot measure sparks debate over open space

By Guy Marzorati, KQED, February 11, 2020. A proposed development for a 400-acre private property in Danville would accommodate 69 new residential units and leave 213 acres of publicly accessible open space. But the Danville Open Space Committee — a citizens group — gathered thousands of signatures to challenge the project on the March 3rd ballot. Stay tuned.

Height limit exemption effort starts in San Mateo

By Zachary Clark, Daily Journal, February 7, 2020. Measure P is a 2004 extension of a measure approved by voters in 1991 and is set to sunset by the end of the year. Now a group of San Mateo residents is pushing to extend Measure P’s existing building height limits while exempting areas around transit from the measure’s height and density restrictions.

Bay Area gets boost to affordable housing from unlikely source

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 6, 2020. New apartment complexes built on Caltrain land near Caltrain stations must reserve at least 30 percent of their units for low-income residents. But there’s no requirement that such sites be reserved for housing.

San Mateo may be first in state to use AB 1763 for low-income units

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 16, 2020. Without AB 1763, the density limits of 50 units per acre approved by city voters in 1991 would have limited the number of affordable homes that could be built on the city-owned site.

Best urban designs to reduce road injuries

From Mirage News (Australia), January 28, 2020. ‘If reducing the road toll is your ultimate goal, it is better to invest in safer alternative transport options than continuing to focus on car-based safety interventions,’ said lead researcher Dr. Jason Thompson. The University of Melbourne research highlights the importance of urban design and planning as key to reducing transport-related injuries across the world. Hat tip to The Overhead Wire.

“Three lessons 21st century housing policy could learn from ‘Little Women’ ”

By Jenny Schuetz, Brookings’ The Avenue, February 5, 2020. “It may just be the meticulous recreation of 19th century New England in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ that has the most to say about American homes, even offering some bold yet sensible lessons to improve our own 21st century housing policy.”

SB 50 is dead – voted down by State Senators representing affluent suburbs, including the Peninsula

Senate Bill 50, in a Senate vote late Wednesday afternoon, fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to advance to the State Assembly. Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a supporter, said, ‘SB 50 might not be coming forward right now, but the status quo cannot stand.’

How we define “housing density” is a big part of the problem

By Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, January 28, 2020. “Jane Jacobs wasn’t focused on gentrification, and New York is not Palo Alto is not Barcelona is not Hong Kong: Density is not one size fits all. Urbanism isn’t a mere kit of parts. That said, the implications today are still plain for rezoning legislation like [California’s] SB 50.”

Northern News February 2020

To kick off 2020, we’re featuring articles on Oakland 2100-The Game, results from January’s Northern News survey, tiny homes for homeless vets in Sonoma Co., and the passing of a planning pioneer. Plus our regular features: “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and the “Director’s note” with a surprise announcement.

Will reuse developer exit the Concord Naval Weapons Station?

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, January 8, 2020. The Concord City Council decided not to step into a dispute between the developer and local labor over how much of the $6 billion redevelopment of old Navy land should be built by union workers. The council instead instructed both sides to keep negotiating, for which it established non-binding guidelines. A city staff report suggests the developer might walk away from the project if forced to use more union labor.

If you care about California’s housing crisis, give SB50 a chance this time

By Kerry Cavanaugh, editorial writer, LA Times, Jan 7, 2019. State Senator Scott Wiener’s amendments to SB 50 aim to alleviate the criticisms that the bill robs well-intentioned communities of the opportunity to accommodate denser and more affordable housing near transit on their own terms. The bill now allows cities two years to adopt their own plans to increase the amount of market-rate and affordable housing built near transit and job centers.

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Above: SF General Hospital and SF skyline, photo by Diana Elrod. This issue features 4 original, local articles; 4 “Where in the world” photos; 7 Northern Section announcements, including “Who’s where”; “Planning news roundup” (7); and 67 photos.

Northern Section Holiday Party, November 22


What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”


FEATURED ARTICLES: Meet a local planner, Leah Greenblat • Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park? • Reclaiming Downtown for People • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORTHERN SECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: AICP | CM credits for Ethics, Law • Nominate for Northern Section Treasurer • Funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions • Miroo Desai elected to APA California office • Who’s where • Sign up for mentoring • CPF wants YOU • Nominate for East Bay Innovation Awards • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, six articles.

Northern News October 2019

San Francisco skyline, looking SSE from Tiburon (photo by George Osner, AICP). Featured in this issue are “Meet a local planner” and downtown articles from both sides of the Bay. Publish YOUR urban planning article or photo. To submit, or for more information, contact news@norcalapa.org.

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Reclaiming Downtown for People

Hayward is in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its once thriving Downtown has faced the loss of retailers to outlying malls and pressures from big-box stores, online shopping, vacancies, and underutilized properties, and the evolution to an auto-oriented street and neighborhood pattern. The goals, policies, and programs of the Downtown Hayward Specific Plan, Code, and EIR address mobility, infrastructure, and design, and identify potential funding sources, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for implementation.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, awards companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. Now nominate for “Built Environment,” a category added for the 2020 awards.

The California Planning Foundation wants YOU

CPF is recruiting APA California members to run for elected CPF Board positions. Here’s the Schedule: Nominations Submittal Deadline, October 21, 2019. Slate Approval and Voting by Email Ballot, November 4 through December 2, 2019.


APA California – Northern is recruiting its 2019-2020 Mentorship Class, a career development initiative that offers one-on-one matching between young planners and experienced professionals who serve as mentors. JOIN BY OCTOBER 18, 2019.

Who’s where

Diana Benitez is the new Planners4Health Coordinator, Northern Section. Izanie Love, Student Representative to the Northern Section Board from San Jose State University. Amy Lyle, new North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). See their photos and brief bios.

Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park?

Accessibility characterizes the public realm part of the Warriors’ new home. Chase Center is an urban mixed-use project, with significant public exposure and use. The site was designed to offer an urban stroll among gardens through a series of connected spaces that let you absorb much of San Francisco’s burgeoning culture, punctuated by public views of the bay.

Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office

This was the first election in which the new board position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity was on the ballot.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions

14 California cities (four in Northern Section) got a total of $3.15 million in SB 2 planning grants, and CDBG funds totaling $21.7 million were awarded to 18 of California’s smaller cities and counties, including five in Northern Section.

Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern Section

The term of Treasurer, an elected APA California – Northern Section Board position, will end on December 31, 2019. A Nominations Committee is soliciting and will review applications. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term commencing January 1, 2020.

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.

Meet a local planner — Leah Greenblat

Leah Greenblat is Transportation Project Manager at West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee. She and her team won the 2018 APA California Award of Excellence for their work on the West Contra Costa High-Capacity Transit Study.

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

From an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab, with eight large color photos, Sept. 3, 2019. “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.”


Why is CaRLA suing California cities? • WHERE IN THE WORLD, two photos • NORTHERN SECTION NEWS: CPF needs your help in supporting planning students • Northern Section’s David Early gets PEN Honor Award • AICP-certified planners earn more than non-certified planners • Northern News seeks Associate Editor • CPF’s Northern Section 2019-2020 scholarship recipients • New Emerging Planners Group • Director’s note • New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law • Letters • Who’s where • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, 15 articles excerpted and linked

Homeless housing developer aims to bring back bungalow court

By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA. A Los Angeles nonprofit sees the bungalow court of the early 20th century as a good way to house the homeless. The bungalow court was at one time the most common form of multifamily housing in Southern California. Building this type of project is now possible because of LA’s Transit Oriented Communities program, established after voters approved an affordable housing ballot measure in 2016.

Elected officials have visionary responsibilities to ensure that today’s plans consider tomorrow’s needs

Michael Woo recently retired after 10 years as Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design — the first urban planner to hold that position. (Woo holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in politics and urban studies from UC Santa Cruz.) In this TPR interview he responds to a statement that “city planning seems disrespected by all interests,” and to questions such as “what should schools of planning and architecture be inculcating in their students?” and “who should planners be planning for?”

Who’s where

Northern Section’s Treasurer and Social Media Coordinator recently changed their day jobs.

Northern News September 2019

This photo of Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park in Monterey, CA, is by Libby Tyler, FAICP. Our feature article, republished with permission from NextCity, is about CaRLA’s lawsuits. Your locally authored article can be featured in our next issue: Contact news@norcalapa.org.


Love the layout and links! Nicely done.
—Marnie Waffle, Monterey

Director’s note

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. Working at the planning counter can be tedious, or it can be one of the more important and rewarding parts of being a planner — where we learn how to listen and how to empathize. And while we usually don’t see the results of our work for years, we can in a few short hours at the counter resolve several problems, provide direction, or offer advice. These small victories add up and help you appreciate what you do and for whom.

What’s new? The Emerging Planners Group

By Danae Hall and Veronica Flores. Being on the Steering Committee allows members to network “up” with the more senior planners and professionals who speak at our events. Active members also to get to know each other better and build a strong network of peers in the Bay Area. We hope you are interested in joining our Steering Committee, but you still get the chance to meet other professionals simply by attending future EPG events.

SB 35 watch: Latest in Cupertino vs Vallco redevelopment battle

From a Mercury News article by Thy Vo, August 22, 2019: Under state law, Sand Hill Property Co., the owner and developer of Vallco Shopping Mall, has the right to build 2,402 apartment units — half of them below market rate — plus 1.8 million square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail, and a 30-acre rooftop park, all as approved by the Cupertino City Council. But if the current plan gets tossed, whatever project replaces it won’t feature any office space. The City Council on Aug. 21 approved a general plan amendment that eliminates a 2-million-square-foot allocation for office space [on the site] and imposes a 60-foot height limit on buildings at the vacant shopping mall.

Northern California’s Karuk Tribe builds its first LIHTC project

From HUD USER, PD&R Edge, August 2019. “Opened in the fall of 2017, Karuk Homes 1 is a 30-unit affordable housing project of single-family homes in rural Yreka. The project represents the first use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA), and the Karuk Tribe was one of the first Native American tribes in California to obtain a tax credit award under the state’s Native American Apportionment Pilot.”

CPF names Northern Section’s 2019-2020 scholarship recipients

The California Planning Foundation congratulates all of Northern Section’s 2019 CPF Scholarship winners, and we thank all of our Northern Section members who have supported CPF through past conference and section fundraising events with generous donations. Your support has made a difference in the lives of these students!

Become Northern News’ Associate Editor

Northern News — published 10 times each year — is seeking an Associate Editor. Are you a member of APA working or living in northern California? Would you like to help determine our newsmagazine content and solicit articles relevant to the planning profession, current planning issues, or proposed development in northern California and elsewhere? Then please read this short announcement and contact us.

‘The state is now targeting cities over housing. It’s about time’

By San Francisco Business Times, August 16, 2019. “If cities that aren’t taking California’s housing crisis seriously begin to feel the heat, will they finally see the light? At least a few encouraging signs suggest they might — signs that the state needs to pressure communities, mainly suburban, that continue to deny, derail, or downsize housing projects within their borders.”

‘On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than non-certified planners’ —APA

By Don Bradley, PhD, AICP. If you wish to pass the semi-annual AICP exam, it’s a good idea to start early and take the valuable classes Northern Section offers each spring and Fall. This September and October, expert guest speakers and recent course grads will cover all domains of the AICP exam during five Saturday sessions at UC Berkeley.

What is CaRLA, and why is it suing California cities?

By Jared Brey, Next City, August 15, 2017. The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, or CaRLA, is ready to pounce. ‘I think everybody’s starting to get the message that these laws [like the Housing Accountability Act] are out there and that the state is serious — and people are serious,’ says Sonja Trauss, a co-executive director of CaRLA. Adds Matt Lewis, director of communications for California YIMBY, ‘If you look at the model of how the environmental movement evolved, they passed a bunch of clean air and clean water laws and then they would go around and make sure they were enforced. [Suing the suburbs] is literally the same model.’

Northern Section’s David Early to get PEN Honor Award

PEN, the Planner Emeritus Network, is an auxiliary of and resource support group for APA California. Each year, a select few APA California members receive a PEN Honor Award for an outstanding contribution to the profession or for a significant accomplishment that enhanced the recognition and value of planning. This article names the four PEN members honored this year and also lists the 35 honored since 1998.

“Uber and Lyft admit they cause more city-center congestion than predicted”

By Ben Lovejoy, 9to5mac.com, August 6, 2019. “A report jointly commissioned by Uber and Lyft has revealed that ride-sharing companies create significantly more city-center congestion than they’d predicted. The study looked at the impact of what are formally known as ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs) in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.”

Mobility and Equity: Oakland gets scooter regulation right

By Diego Aguilar-Canabal, July 17, 2019. “Oakland’s permit application expressly forbids scooter companies from restricting their operations to ‘certain geographical areas of the city’ without written permission. Additionally, the city requires that 50 percent of all scooters be allocated to ‘communities of concern’ — a regionwide measure of racial and economic disparities outlined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. That stands in stark contrast to San Francisco, where scooters are allowed in less than a third of the city. For instance, the city’s Bayview and Mission Districts feature three times as many bicycle commuters as the rest of the city overall, but scooters are still not available to rent in those areas.”

Lawsuit alleges Los Altos blocked mixed-use project eligible for SB 35

By Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice, July 28, 2019. The civil suit by the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), challenges the city’s denial of a proposed mixed-use building at 40 Main St. with 15 housing units. The City Council concluded the project didn’t meet the criteria needed to skip the normal planning process. CaRLA alleges city leaders violated SB 35 by failing to cite an ‘objective’ rationale for blocking the project. The suit seeks to void Los Altos’ denial of the project and compel the city to approve the application.

ADU watch: Redwood City tightens what was a less restrictive ordinance

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, July 27, 2019. Redwood City had one of the least restrictive ADU ordinances on the Peninsula — allowing units to reach 28 feet above the ground and 700 square feet of space above a garage. But the city council voted 6-1 to limit the size and height of second-story granny flats while providing incentives for construction of single-story units. The new ordinance is expected to go into effect at the end of September.

Bakersfield is booming, as are many other inland California cities

By Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 22, 2019. In recent years, California’s traditional north-south rivalry has given way to an east-west divide over government policy and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Bay Area liberal, pledged during last year’s campaign to make closing that gap a priority.

To reduce homelessness, San Francisco aims to find and fill vacant housing units

By Kate Wolffe, KQED News, July 26, 2019. The ‘All In’ campaign, which launched July 25th, aims to mobilize a broad coalition of community members to develop immediate housing solutions for the city’s chronically homeless population. The primary objective is to secure a total of 1,100 housing units for homeless people across all 11 supervisorial districts of the city.

The future of the city doesn’t have to be childless

Brookings Senior Research Analyst Hanna Love and Senior Fellow Jennifer S. Vey write that the childless city is not inescapable, but “We must look to innovative, place-based strategies aimed at creating cities where families of all means not only can afford to live, but where they can thrive.” They offer a list of recommendations.

‘The future of the city is childless’

By Derek Thompson, excerpted from The Atlantic, July 18, 2019. “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. It turns out that America’s urban rebirth is a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under age 18 has declined. Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.”

We Want You! (To Join Our Board)

Do you want to be more involved with APA? Do you want to serve your fellow Northern Section members? If you are you ready to build your professional skills, consider joining your Northern Section board in one of our vacant positions! We are looking to fill vacancies for the following:   North Bay Regional Activity

Photo of Capitola-by-the-Sea by Juan Borrelli, AICP. This issue features three articles, two “Where in the world” photos, five items for Northern Section members (including "Who's where”) and 13 Planning news recaps.

Northern News July/August 2019

Photo of Capitola-by-the-Sea, above, by Juan Borrelli, AICP. This issue features three articles, two “Where in the world” photos, five items for Northern Section members (including “Who’s where”) and 13 recaps in “Planning news roundup.”

Huge land deals: 30,000 acres in Solano County purchased; 50,000 available straddling Alameda and Santa Clara counties

Up to 30,000 acres of agricultural land between Suisun City and Rio Vista has been purchased, and a Fairfield city councilwoman wants to know for what purpose it might be used. Meanwhile, 70 miles away, a working ranch of 50,500 acres northeast of San Jose and southeast of Livermore is for sale for $72 million.

Thirty from Northern Section pass May 2019 AICP exam

Just under 500 APA members passed the AICP Certification Exam administered in May. The 30 Northern Section members listed below include five who are enrolled in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program and may now use the AICP Candidate designation. Congratulations to all!

Director’s note – July 2019

After a whirlwind spring for those of us in the Northern Section — what with APA’s NPC19 in San Francisco and our annual Awards Gala in Oakland — summer has arrived. For many of us, it’s an opportunity to bask in the longer days, take family vacations, or take a little R&R. But your Northern Section board is working on programs for the second half of 2019.

Should we build cities from scratch?

People have been building new cities from scratch for millennia. When countries rise up, when markets emerge, people build new cities. Today, though, we are taking it to unheard-of levels. Guardian Cities has been exploring this phenomenon of cities built from scratch. Here are excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian.

‘Deconstruction’ ordinance will require reuse, recycling of construction materials

“Under the old method, excavators smash the structure into rubble that gets placed in containers and shipped to a waste-sorting facility. The operation takes a few days and a crew of two to three, and costs between $8 and $12 per square foot to complete. The new model calls for buildings to be systematically disassembled, typically in the reverse order in which they were constructed. Based on two recent pilot projects, deconstruction would take about 10 to 15 days to complete and require a crew of four to eight people, costing from $22 to $34 per square foot.”

There’s no end in sight to divisive public hearings

By Michael Hobbes, an excerpt from HuffPost, July 6, 2019. “Locals are losing their minds over issues related to housing, zoning, and transportation. Ugly public meetings are becoming increasingly common in cities across the country as residents frustrated by worsening traffic, dwindling parking, and rising homelessness take up fierce opposition. Rowdy public hearings are nothing new in city politics. Meetings cut short after boos and jeering are usually sparked by projects or policy changes intended to address America’s worsening housing crisis. … Cities can redesign community outreach to encourage input from groups that have traditionally been excluded. But it’s not clear if longer or more inclusive citizen engagement will lower the temperature of local debates over density and growth.”

Who’s where

News about Jonathan Atkinson, AICP; Jim Bergdoll, AICP; Jim Carney; Sharon Grewal, AICP; Shayda Haghgoo; James Hinkamp, AICP; Noah Housh; Catarina Kidd, AICP; Edgar Maravilla; Steve McHarris, AICP; Megan Porter, AICP; Avalon Schultz, AICP; Jason Su; and Kristy Weis.

The students pushing Stanford to build more housing

By Jared Brey, NextCity, June 13, 2019. This article, originally published in Next City, is republished in entirety, with permission. “Like a lot of big universities, Stanford is almost a small city of its own. Operating in the unincorporated town of Stanford, California, in Santa Clara County, Stanford hosts 16,000 students and employs 13,000 people on faculty and staff. It owns more than 8,000 acres of land in six jurisdictions. And it is seeking approval for around 2.275 million square feet of new space through a General Use Permit, a periodically updated document that guides the university’s growth.”

Collaborative, sensory-based community engagement for a more equitable bike/pedestrian environment

By John Kamp and James Rojas, July 5, 2019. When Palo Alto’s California Avenue bicycle and pedestrian underpass was built more than 50 years ago beneath the Caltrain tracks, it was intended to solve one problem: allow pedestrians and bicyclists to safely pass from one side of the tracks to the other. The tunnel’s designers never foresaw that bicycling would ultimately skyrocket — today nearly half of Palo Alto students ride their bikes to school — and thus bicyclists and pedestrians now have to share a particularly confined space. As a result, pedestrians using the tunnel increasingly perceive those who bike through it as disregarding their personal space and coming dangerously close to hitting them.

What’s inside

This issue has three featured articles, two “Where in the world” photos, four items related directly to Northern Section APA members (including 14 planners highlighted in “Who’s where”), and 12 recaps in Planning news roundup. Enjoy!

Density mandate passes for all but smallest Oregon cities

By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian, June 30, 2019. By a 17-9 vote, the Oregon Senate on June 30 gave final legislative approval to a bill that would effectively eliminate single-family zoning in large Oregon cities. House Bill 2001 now heads to Gov. Kate Brown to be signed into law.

These nine northern California projects scored Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities awards from the California Strategic Growth Council

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, as published in Northern News, June 26, 2019. SGC’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program provides grants and loans for programs and capital development projects, including affordable housing development and transportation improvements that encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and result in fewer passenger vehicle miles traveled. From 47 proposals received, AHSC granted awards to 25 projects in California (nine in our “Northern Section” region, i.e., coastal northern California). The maximum award was $20 million.

Projects in 10 Northern Section communities receive ‘No Place Like Home’ funding awards

On June 20, California HCD awarded $179 million to developers of affordable supportive housing in 37 communities across California from the No Place Like Home Program funded by 2018’s Proposition 2. The awards mark the first funding from the program to go directly to developers.

Who’s coming and who’s going: California in 5 interactive charts and maps

By Matt Levin, CALmatters, June 20, 2019. “The California Dream is a global brand. For more than a century the state has been a magnet for migrants from around the world, and now has the largest foreign-born population of any state in the country. Here are five maps and charts illustrating the past and present of who’s moving in and, lately, moving out.”

SPUR/Northern Section Co-Sponsored and CM Events

The Northern Section is excited to partner up again with our friends at SPUR to offering up AICP CM credited events this fall. As a benefit to APA members, several of the events are free to attend.  Check out what SPUR has lined up this summer and hope you can attend some of these exciting

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay fined $1.6 million; failed to give public beach access

“Luxury hotel violated coastal laws for years.” By Paul Rogers, Bay Area News Group, June 14, 2019. “The 261-room Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, built in 2001, will pay $1.6 million in penalties to the California Coastal Commission to settle violations of state coastal laws. $600,000 of the settlement will go to the Peninsula Open Space Trust to help purchase an adjacent 27-acres with additional public beach access.”

Former Concord Naval Weapons Station may be site of new CSU campus

By Don Ford, CBS SF KPIX 5, June 11, 2019. “For years, state and local leaders have dreamed about how best to develop the now-closed Concord Naval Weapons Station. One of those dreams included turning the former base into a four-year college – a dream that now may be a little closer to reality.”

Scott Wiener, in enemy territory, makes case for SB 50

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly, June 7, 2019. “SB 50 is alive and well, said State Senator Scott Wiener. And local control ‘is not biblical. It’s a good thing when it leads to good results, and our system of pure local control on housing has not led to good results.’ Wiener said even if tech giants like Facebook and Google are required to build housing, existing zoning would still make approval and construction a slow and difficult process.”

World’s largest co-housing building coming to San Jose

By Sarah Holder, Citylab, June 7, 2019. “An 800-unit, 18-story ‘dorm for adults’ will help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce. “The co-housing start-up Starcity is working to fill America’s housing-strapped cities with co-housing compounds. Since launching in 2016, the company has broken ground on seven developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

A national shout-out to Alameda!

Amanda Kolson Hurley tweets, “How did I miss a new ranking of ‘The Coolest Suburbs in America’? Discussion of methodology is surprisingly careful and good (but people will still bellyache).”

The housing affordability crisis is generational warfare

An excerpt from an op-ed by Henry Grabar in Slate, May 30, 2019. “How many people must live in the street before we can build new homes? “ ‘More’ was the answer earlier this month from the California State Senate, where SB 50 was stalled by the former mayor of a town that has not

APA Northern California – Awards Gala Sponsorship Request

On June 7th, 2019 the American Planning Association of Northern California will host its annual Awards Gala at the Starline Lounge (2236 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Oakland). Join us to honor innovative plans, projects, and distinguished APA members, and meet and mingle with Northern Section planners. As in the years past we expect over 100 participants.

We want to invite you to participate as one of our sponsors. We have three new revamped sponsorship levels. Choose one and show your support for great planning!

New: Bay Area Equity Atlas

By Victor Rubin, PolicyLink, June 6, 2019. The Bay Area economy is experiencing phenomenal growth, yet rising inequality and displacement are making it impossible for working-class people and communities of color to stay and thrive — ultimately undermining the region’s future. A new equity data resource, “The Bay Area Equity Atlas,” brings the power of the National Equity Atlas to the local level, providing 21 equity indicators for 271 geographies across the region.

CPF NEEDS YOUR HELP in supporting planning students

The California Planning Foundation is now accepting items for the annual CPF auction and raffle to be held at the APA California Conference in Santa Barbara, September 15-18. To donate items for the auction and raffle, please fill out the donation form linked in this article and email it to Aaron Pfannenstiel, or call him at (951) 444-9379 if you have questions.

Giant apartment project gets Mountain View City Council’s blessing

By Mark Noack, Mountain View Voice, May 23, 2019. The Mountain View City Council has approved what may be the largest housing project in the city’s history. The colossal development at 777 W. Middlefield Road is slated to include 711 new apartments, including 144 affordable units for local teachers and city workers. The development was originally

Northern News June 2019

Above, the Downtown San Jose’s SoFA Arts District mural at 300 S. 1st Street. Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP

Diversity, inclusion, and equity — a focus of NPC 19

By Elizabeth “Libby” Tyler, Ph.D., FAICP. NPC 19 was our first opportunity to roll out the (now formally ratified) Planning for Equity Policy Guide. On the opening Saturday, I participated in a panel on “Everyday Racism: What Planners Can Do.”

In the middle of your planning career? We want your ideas!

By Miroo Desai, AICP. Northern Section has created a Mid-Career Planners Group towards meeting the needs of planners who are midway in their careers. I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts for the type of activities and events that you, as a mid-career planner, would like to see offered by our Section.

BAPDA’s Spring Meeting: The Housing Legislation Frenzy

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, with photos by Hing Wong, AICP. Those attending the meeting learned about the rapidly changing landscape of housing policy legislation, as well as the changes coming in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation: stricter rules for what can be counted as a developable site, and big increases in the housing unit numbers.

SB 50 was shelved: Here’s what you need to know

By Matt Levin and Ben Christopher, CALmatters, May 17, 2019. SB 50’s fate dealt an unexpected setback to pro-development forces in the state Capitol and a major victory for defenders of local control over housing decisions. It also throws an obstacle onto Gov. Gavin Newsom’s path as he tries to goad the state into building a lot more housing, and it could jeopardize a broader housing package — including tenant protections. “Short of significantly amending the bill and limiting its applications in large swaths of the state, there was no path to move forward this year,” said Senate leader Toni Atkins.

SJSU’s 2018 and 2019 “Brazilian Urbanism” students reunite

2018 and 2019 “Brazilian Urbanism: Past Present & Future” international studies abroad classes reunited May 9th at San Pedro Square in downtown San José.

This ‘pocket neighborhood’ has 8 houses on a lot, instead of one McMansion

By Adele Peters, Fast Company, May 14, 2019. MicroLife Institute, the Atlanta-based nonprofit developing the project, promotes small-space living in walkable neighborhoods and worked to help the city change its zoning code to make a tiny home community possible. After passing the ordinance in 2017, the city approved the plans for the development this month. The homes will go up for presale this summer, and the neighborhood should be completed by the end of the year.

Diridon to Downtown: Strengthening San Jose through wayfinding

By Andrea Arjona, Richard Boggs, Anthony Nachor, Carolyn Neer, and Mindy Nguyen. The community around Diridon Station shares the aspirations and goals outlined in the City’s Envision 2040 General Plan. By pursuing those goals with the concerns and hopes of the community in mind, the new Diridon Station and surrounding area can bring San Jose one step closer to becoming a world-class destination as an urban center, a major transportation hub, and the cultural heart of Silicon Valley.

Registration is open for APA California’s 2019 Conference

The 2019 APA California Chapter conference will be held in Santa Barbara September 15–18, hosted by Central Coast Section at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. This year’s conference theme is “A Resilient Future.”

Civil rights attorneys protest Mountain View’s proposed RV ban

By Mark Noack, Mountain View Voice, May 13, 2019. “Mountain View’s proposed ban on large vehicles has provoked a stern warning from civil rights attorneys who say it would discriminate against the city’s homeless. In a nine-page, footnoted letter to the city, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley both urged Mountain View officials not to move forward with plans to prohibit large vehicles over six feet tall from parking on the street. A March staff report noted that a future ordinance would carve out special exemptions for business owners, residents, government officials, and other groups to continue parking their oversized vehicles on the street.”

What draws people to Downtown San Jose?

What are their concerns, expert opinions, and recommendations? This graduate student video, 8:44, is worth your time.

How Old Oakland’s historic buildings survived decay (and demolition)

By Ryan Levi, Bay Curious, KQED, May 9, 2019. “Old Oakland — Washington Street between Eighth and 10th Streets — has brick-lined sidewalks leading into grand Victorians that date to the late 1800s. The area is thriving with trendy stores, hip restaurants and bars, a popular Friday farmers market, and even a Steph Curry pop-up shop. But none of that might exist if a UC Berkeley architecture student hadn’t stumbled upon those forgotten Victorians more than 50 years ago.”


Re: May issue and demise of the PDFs. Kudos to you all for your hard work in …

Northern Section 2019 Awards announced

The results are in! Come celebrate the best of Northern California planning at our Awards Gala on Friday, June 7, at the Starline Social Club. Our jurors were Martin Alkire; Hanson Hom, AICP; Rebecca Kohlstrand, AICP; and Aaron Welsh. To purchase tickets, visit our Awards webpage.

Neighboring Peninsula cities see housing actions differently

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly, May 7, 2019. “The city councils of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park met in a joint session on May 6 for an update on and a discussion of the various housing bills now going through Sacramento. Most of the council members focused on Senate Bill 50. The only thing they agreed on is that each community would benefit from collaborating and coordinating to address the regional housing shortage. East Palo Alto Councilman Larry Moody challenged cities that oppose the bill to offer their own plans to address the humanitarian crisis. East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Regina Wallace-Jones and Councilman Ruben Abrica urged opponents of SB 50 to propose alternative solutions. Rather than fight the state, Abrica said, cities should make suggestions to the Legislature to address the problem.”

Perth councillors support 27-storey affordable housing tower despite planners’ objections

By Editorial Desk, Architecture AU, May 6, 2019. “Perth, Western Australia, councillors have voted in support of a 27-storey mixed-use development containing 30 percent social and affordable housing, despite a recommendation that the proposal be rejected due to an excessive plot ratio [and insufficient] community benefits or facilities. The landowner and project developer is the Western Australia government’s Department of Communities, and the Western Australian Planning Commission is the body responsible for the final approval.”

On Amazon’s decision to move to New York City, then cancel

By J. David Goodman, metro reporter, The New York Times, May 1, 2019. “Many venture capitalists like to think of New York as the next Silicon Valley, but the cultures are not the same. You saw that dramatically with Amazon’s flat-footed rollout. The company thought it would be welcomed because it was bringing so many jobs. [But] the Amazon team was surprised by the onslaught of questions from reporters. Many New Yorkers were equally baffled that the company could be so naïve and so unprepared.”

CalChapter extends 2019 Awards Nominations to May 24

Nominations for this year’s APA California Awards Program are now being accepted. The Awards Committee encourages you to submit your outstanding project, program, plan, or person for this year’s program. The timeline for nominations has been extended to Friday, May 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm. Some nominations require a win at the Section level to

Here’s your guide to the June issue

Our articles and photos are arranged by Featured articles, Where in the world (photo), Northern Section, and Planning news roundup.

Exploring Oakland by bike

By Tom Holub, May 3, 2019. I love how cycling changes my experience of moving through the city, and I love sharing that experience with others. The idea of an urban geography tour is to help participants gain greater understanding of the city and its planning issues. This tour began by riding on Oakland’s first protected bike lanes …

Parking spaces could be better used

“WePark shows that in cities like San Francisco, coworking is unaffordable to many, and the sheer volume of free space allocated to parked cars could be put to much better use.” But not housing — so far.

New York Times on CA housing crisis

By the Editorial Board, The New York Times, April 28, 2019. “Precisely because [SB50] rewrites the rules for so much California land, it is likely to facilitate development at a wide range of price points. … it could serve to reduce development pressures on communities outside the rezoned areas. … But it would be a mistake to preserve some affordable housing by preventing the construction of more affordable housing.”

SB 50/SB 4 compromise summary

By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times. April 24, 2019. SB 50 will be amended to do all of the below. SB 4 will be held in committee. The flowchart (created by Alfred Twu, Berkeley artist and activist) explains how different places may or may not be affected.

Street Air on Earth Day

By Zelda Zivny, Milo Wetherall, and Charlie Millenbah, April 22, 2019. Our research found that if cities chose to make simple design changes to pedestrian areas (or as we say, to the street-edge), the area’s outdoor eating experience could be notably safer as well as more enjoyable. Our recently completed film, “Airgregates, the Impact of Concrete Mixing Facilities on the Bay View Community,” has been selected as a finalist in the upcoming Clear the Air Film Fest sponsored by Breathe CA and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

In memoriam

Northern News is saddened to announce the passing of its PDF on April 14 in San Francisco. Vital until the very end, Northern News PDF left behind a 37-page April 2019 issue with six major articles, 15,500 words, and 54 images.

“Storytelling” at People of Color mixer in March

Diversity Directors Cindy Ma, AICP, and Cherise Orange kicked off 2019’s first mixer with STORYTELLING — an art and a creative way to connect people through words and to take their imaginations across distant lands.

SF Urban Film Festival news

By Fay Darmawi. SFUFF will hold its sixth season from February 2 through 9, 2020. The festival has extended its submissions deadline to APRIL 30, 2019.

Bay Area Homelessness Report

Bay Area Council Economic Institute, April 2019, 42 pp. At the end of each year, the Bay Area Council surveys its members to determine which public policy areas are of the greatest concern to the region’s largest employers. In the Council’s 2017 survey, ending chronic homelessness emerged as a top public policy priority.

Northern News May 2019

The articles and photos are arranged in this sequence: Featured articles | Where in the world | Norcal APA news | Photo highlights from NPC19 | and Planning news roundup.

My short course on Working with Difficult People

By Steve Matarazzo. This is about arrogance in the public sector workplace, what might be behind it, and how it tends to play out. If you are reading this, I am probably not writing about you. I expect, however, that you will relate to this article.

Pro bono planning assistance for California communities

By Robert Paternoster, FAICP. Do you know of a municipality or group that needs planning assistance but doesn’t have the resources? Or a new or struggling planning function that could benefit from peer review and support? APA California can help with Community Planning Assistance, free to communities in need.

Meet a local planner — Kristi Bascom

An interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP, associate editor. Kristi Bascom’s undergraduate classes in environmental studies were her first exposure to land use planning. After earning a master’s degree in city planning, she worked for several Bay Area cities. She is now Project Manager at Habitat for Humanity, East Bay/Silicon Valley, a position she took just this January.

“A highway runs through it”

By Nathanael Johnson in Grist, April 17, 2019. Oakland’s government has made removal of Interstate 980 a part of its plan for a growing downtown. The teardown could become part of a regional push to relieve traffic congestion by building a second BART tunnel beneath the bay.

2019 Northern Section Awards Gala June 7

By Carmela Campbell, Awards Program Co-director. Meet and mingle with fellow planners on Friday evening, June 7, as we present our Northern Section awards at Starline Social Club, a restaurant / bar at 2236 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Oakland.

Nonprofits may soon get first dibs on SF apartment buildings

By Jared Brey, Next City, April 9, 2019. The Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors April 16th. If the ordinance passes a second vote on April 23rd and is signed by the mayor, nonprofits will have a right of first refusal to buy and preserve existing affordable housing — apartment buildings with more than three units. Landlords who want to sell their buildings would first need to notify qualified nonprofit groups of their intent to sell.


Nonprofits may get dibs on SF apartment buildings • Meet a local planner • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORCAL APA NEWS • Sustainable Chinatown wins (Environmental Planning) Gold at NPC19 • Director’s note • New! Northern Section webinar series • 2019 Northern Section Awards Gala June 7 • Pro bono planning assistance for California communities • My short course on Working with Difficult People • SF Urban Film Festival news • Storytelling at People of Color mixer • Street Air on Earth Day • PHOTOS FROM NPC19 • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP

CA cities and counties move to comply with State housing law

By Alicia Murillo, California HCD, April 12, 2019. As a result of Gov. Newsom’s efforts to address the state’s housing affordability crisis, the California HCD is seeing significant progress in compliance with state housing law. In February, Governor Newsom met with California mayors from noncomplying cities. Three cities have since complied and 14 others have submitted drafts or committed to compliance.

SF is world’s most expensive city in which to build, study says

By Ted Andersen, Digital Editor, San Francisco Business Times, April 12, 2019. The City by the Bay has dethroned the Big Apple as the world’s priciest place for new construction. This year, San Francisco removes New York from the top spot, having increased by 5 percent in the last year, according to a new report by consulting company Turner & Townsend.

Streetcar spurred development of an SF neighborhood 100 years ago

From an article by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco Examiner, April 10, 2019. San Francisco’s Sunset District and Parkside neighborhoods are home to roughly 70,000 people. The seed of that development is the L Line, one little streetcar route established 100 years ago that soon connected downtown to the dunes.

Link to the APRIL 2019 PDF (37 pp, 12.5 MB)

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Link to the MARCH 2019 PDF (22 pp, 12.2 MB)

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New! Northern Section webinar series

Throughout 2019, we will hold a series of quarterly webinars on Northern California’s best practices in planning, and offering CM credits. COMPLETE OUR FORM BY APRIL 30 to let us know what YOU would like to present in the webinars.

Director’s note — May 2019

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. I write this after four stimulating days in the halls of Moscone West, still processing from the hugely successful National Planning Conference held here. The vast undertaking is behind us, but I hope our section can continue the themes, energy, and momentum locally.

Sustainable Chinatown wins the (Environmental Planning) Gold at NPC19

From APA, April 15, 2019. Sustainable Chinatown began in 2014 as a collaboration between the Chinatown Community Development Center, SF Planning Department, SF Department of the Environment, and Enterprise Community Partners to create more affordable housing, improve access to public space, and provide services to residents and businesses.

Gentrification is most concentrated in large cities

Kate Elizabeth Queram, Route Fifty, March 21, 2019 “Seven cities [including Los Angeles and San Diego] account for almost half the gentrification in America, according to a study released March 19 by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “The study defines gentrification as occurring when ‘an influx of investment and changes to the built environment leads

27-year-old Bay Area mayor is about to double her city’s population

Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, March 20, 2019 “Brisbane Mayor Madison Davis is 27 and lives at home with her parents because she can’t afford a place of her own. “While she’s by no means a typical mayor, she is a typical victim of the Bay Area’s affordable housing shortage. And in that sense, she’s

The Food Zone

By John F. Livingstone, AICP. What if cities required new developments and major additions to plant something that provides food? That food could be used by the residents or occupants of the subdivision or development, or if surplus, donated to local schools, homeless shelters, and food banks. It’s a simple idea. Most cities require landscaping,

Ethics/Law “two-fer” program recap

By Elizabeth (Libby) Tyler, FAICP. The Northern Section held its annual WINTER ETHICS/LAW TRAINING on February 23, 2019, at the fabulous Wendel Rosen conference facilities overlooking the heart of downtown Oakland. More than 40 Section members participated in the event. In the law session, Wendel Rosen attorney Robert Selna discussed the legalization of cannabis in

Planners4Health Co-sponsors Healthy/Resilient Homes Leadership Program

By Beth Altshuler and Will Dominie. APA California Northern Section is thrilled to co-sponsor a “Health and Resilient Homes Leadership Program” with the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII), the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and the Great Communities Collaborative. This program’s goals are to: Build a cohort of leaders on healthy, resilient,

Meet a local planner — John Schwarz

By Catarina Kidd, AICP. JOHN SCHWARZ, an environmental planner for 22 years, is president and principal of JHS Consulting, specializing in environmental planning. He holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and a B.A. in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara.  What brought you to environmental planning? As a student at UC Santa Barbara, I

Meet a local planner — Maren Moegel

By Catarina Kidd, AICP. MAREN MOEGEL, an urban and architectural designer and master planner with broad international experience, is Studio Director at Studio T-SQ in Oakland, California. She is working on urban mixed-use projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. What is your education background? I have lived in Berkeley and the East Bay since

Frank So, FAICP, 81; helped create Planning magazine

IN MEMORIAM APA has informed us of the death of its retired APA Executive Director Frank S. So on February 22, 2019. So graduated from Youngstown University and earned his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Ohio State University. He joined the staff of the American Society of Planning Officials in 1967, and

Northern News April 2019

The APRIL PDF (37 pp) is at http://bit.ly/2JzQVhq. In this issue: Planning Camp • Three articles on how to increase housing production • In memoriam, Frank So, FAICP, 81, APA Exec. Director 1996-2001 • Meet our local planners, Maren Moegel and John Schwarz • Northern Section and BARHII on building a cohort of leaders to improve housing quality, stability, and resilience.

From arterial roadway to greenway

New regional infrastructure across Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville By Matt Taecker, AICP. THIS IS A VISION PLAN that reimagines how the very wide rights-of-way existing along the Shattuck-Adeline-Stanford corridor can be used to increase community livability and promote urban sustainability. These generous rights-of-way originally accommodated rail and were repurposed in the 20th century primarily for

Director’s note – April 2019

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. WILL THIS BE YOUR FIRST NATIONAL PLANNING CONFERENCE? I remember walking into Union Station in Washington, DC, in the spring of 2004 and marveling at the opening reception. As a student about to graduate with a city and regional planning degree, it was a thrill to be around people in

Marking history with the Ohlone-Portolá Heritage Trail project

Samuel Herzberg, AICP. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO, an expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá travelled 1,200 miles up the Alta California coast to explore an overland route for establishing Spanish harbors at San Diego and Monterey Bay. Following well-established footpaths that marked trade routes between native villages, the expedition traveled farther north, and

How much house is too much?

By Al Savay, AICP. RETHINKING SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE SIZE. The single-family detached house is an icon — a symbol of the American Dream. Owning a single-family home is the culmination of hard work, financial planning, risk, strategic thinking, and sacrifice. Demographic changes have revealed major shifts in how our country views home ownership. Even so,

California launches program to increase housing production

By Jennifer Gastelum and Charlie Knox, AICP. IN AN EFFORT TO ADDRESS THE STATEWIDE HOUSING SHORTFALL, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has begun the process of making money available to every city and county in California to expedite housing construction. Senate Bill 2, the “Building Homes and Jobs Act,” was signed

A disruptive housing technology

The story of Mare Island, a Base reuse, and Factory OS By Afshan Hamid, AICP. A HOUSING AND TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION is occurring on Mare Island in Vallejo, California. For 142 years, the island functioned as a naval shipyard for 40,000 workers and more than 500 ships, including cruisers and battleships that served in several wars,

Taking the high road to fix California’s broken housing production system

By Alex Lantsberg, AICP, and Roxana Aslan. CALIFORNIA is caught in a pair of traps affecting what kind of housing is built and where, and how it is produced. Together, they reinforce a dynamic of suppressed housing construction, unaffordability, and displacement. Policy makers are understandably focused on making it easier to issue permits for where

Questions about Dumbarton rail project answered

Kate Bradshaw, The Almanac, March 14, 2019 “SamTrans has entered into an exclusive 18-month partnership with Cross Bay Transit Partners — a partnership formed between Facebook and the infrastructure investment company Plenary Group — to explore the feasibility of reinstating passenger rail transit along the Dumbarton corridor. “The exclusive negotiation agreement with Cross Bay Transit

San Jose approves new building heights

Emily Deruy, The Mercury News, March 13, 2019 “San Jose’s squat skyline is set to rise in coming years. The ability to build upward will allow companies access to real estate in the sky that was previously off limits. “The City Council voted unanimously to allow higher buildings downtown and near Diridon Station despite opposition

Destruction from sea level rise could exceed state’s worst wildfires and earthquakes

Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2019 • “In the most extensive study to date on sea level rise in California, researchers say damage by century’s could be far more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires in state history. “A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest sea level

Large apartment project approved near San Leandro BART station

Peter Hegarty, East Bay Times, March 13, 2019 “A 5.73-acre site 1,000 feet from the San Leandro BART station will be transformed into a 687-unit apartment complex — one of the city’s largest. The site was once used by Caterpillar to store construction equipment. “The plan calls for tearing down the Filarmonica Artista Amadora de

CEQA Review not required for project subject only to Design Review

Michele Chan, California Land Use and Development Report, March 12, 2019  “The court of appeal held that the City of St. Helena did not violate CEQA by approving a demolition permit and design review for a multi-family residential project without preparing an environmental impact report. McCorkle Eastside Neighborhood Group v. City of St. Helena (2018) 31

Neighborhood-preference program for affordable housing proves effective

Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 2019  “A San Francisco program to protect people in close-knit neighborhoods from being uprooted by gentrification and soaring housing costs appears to be working. “The Neighborhood Resident Housing Preference plan requires 40 percent of units in new affordable housing developments funded by the city and private sources to be

Housing Action Planning effective in Santa Rosa

Kristen Pope, Planning magazine, March 2019  “Long before Santa Rosa, California, lost 3,000 housing units — five percent of its housing — the city spent a year developing a comprehensive Housing Action Plan (HAP). “The Plan, officially released [in October 2016], endeavors to build 5,000 units by 2023, half at market rate and half in the

Too late for ousted residents, Palo Alto denies hotel application

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly, updated March 11, 2019. “A proposal to convert the President Hotel Apartments to a luxury hotel hit a roadblock this week, when Palo Alto’s Planning Director Jonathan Lait concluded that the project described in the development application would violate numerous zoning laws. “The controversial project, which prompted the eviction

Kevin Roche, 96, got his start as architect of the Oakland Museum of California

The New York Times, March 3, 2019, Paul Goldberger • Dublin-born Architect Kevin Roche “ … believed that because each building emerged out of a different situation, each called for something very different. It was a view he took from his mentor, Eero Saarinen, whose thriving architectural practice formed the foundation of Mr. Roche’s own. Mr. Roche was hired by Saarinen in 1950 …”

Families, including Pete Parkinson’s, rebuilding in Sonoma County

Sonoma Index-Tribune, February 23, 2019 Christiane Kallen • “Like most of the rest of Sonoma County, the Bennett Ridge neighborhood is beginning to recover. The October 2017 wildfires incinerated 92 homes on Bennett Ridge, destroying more than two-thirds of the neighborhood of 129 homes. “The Parkinson family— Pete, his wife, Celia, and 10-year-old son Henry

Northern News March 2019

The MARCH PDF (22 pp) is at http://bit.ly/2SWJKUG. In this issue: Photos from the Ouro Preto, Brazil, field trip • In memoriam, Joseph Kott, AICP, who researched benefits of ‘green streets’ • Meet a local planner, Shannon Fiala • Meet our newest Northern Section Board members.

Who’s where, March 2019

Northern News lists job moves and promotions that come to our attention. Instead of your counting on LinkedIn to get the word out, tell us, and we’ll tell all of your northern California planning colleagues. This month, we highlight AARON AKNIN, AICP, and TIMOTHY ROOD, AICP.

Photos from the Ouro Preto, Brazil, field trip

Northern Section Board members ALEX HINDS and JUAN BORRELLI, AICP, traveled to Ouro Preto, Brazil, 100 km north of Rio de Janeiro — a historic former mining town and a UNESCO World Heritage site — in January 2019 with RICK KOS, AICP, and 10 of Rick’s students from San Jose State University.

Meet our newest Northern Section Board members

DELLA ACOSTA, University Liaison; DANAE HALL, Co-director, Young Planners Group; MARTA POLOVIN, Student Representative, UC Berkeley; ELLEN YAU, Mentorship Director; and MARK YOUNG, South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC).

Meet a local planner, Shannon Fiala

By Catarina Kidd, AICP. FIALA is Planning Manager at BCDC. She served on the APA California Northern Section Board, 2014–2016. “We are set up like a traditional planning department: there is a division that handles permits for shoreline development proposals, and my division handles long-range planning. … The most important thing is to care about your employees, be interested in their professional goals, and be courageous enough to give them the constructive feedback that will help them grow.”

In memoriam, Joseph Kott, AICP, researched benefits of ‘green streets’

Transportation planning and management expert and scholar Joseph Kott, PhD, AICP, was well known at public agencies, private consultancies, and universities, and especially in California. A longtime lecturer at San Jose State University, he was in the midst of teaching two courses, “Introduction to Local Transportation” and “Sustainable Transportation Planning,” when he died unexpectedly and suddenly at his home from a massive heart attack on February 14. He was 71.

Director’s note – March 2019

By JAMES CASTAÑEDA, AICP. At our section board’s retreat in January, we noted that Northern News is on its way to becoming mobile responsive, and discussed its future and its value to our members. Separately we noted the tremendous effort that goes into coordinating and hosting our many workshops, lectures, and training sessions, and we are looking to make some of our programming available online later this year.

Aggressive push against local housing development restrictions

Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2019 Liam Dillon • “Citing the increasing cost of housing across California, state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) has introduced new legislation that would block high-cost regions from imposing new prohibitions on housing construction or decreasing the number of homes allowed on certain pieces of land.” [According to the Legislative Counsel, http://bit.ly/2STswaK,

Caltrain projects a go despite HSR confusion

Mountain View Voice, February 16, 2019 Mark Noack • “Caltrain officials said that funding remains secure for a $2 billion project to upgrade the rail line to an electrified system. The state’s high-speed rail project is obligated to provide $713 million toward the cost of the upgrades. “That funding remains intact, and the state recently awarded

Approval process isn’t only obstacle to SF housing goals

San Francisco Examiner, February 9, 2019 Laura Waxmann  • “Close to 45,000 potential homes are currently approved in San Francisco — the highest number tracked by the city’s planning department to date — but many have yet to break ground. “ ‘No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more not in my neighborhood. It’s simple:

BART begins strengthening Transbay Tube

BART News, February 7, 2019 “In November 2004, voters in Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Alameda counties approved Measure AA, which allowed BART to issue general obligation bonds to fund up to $980 million of the $1.2 billion total cost of earthquake safety improvements. “The highest priority for upgrades has been the Transbay Tube, the

San Diego joins SF and Oakland, in dropping parking requirements

The San Diego Union-Tribune, February 6, 2019 David Garrick • Help in solving “San Diego’s housing crisis by wiping out parking requirements for new [multifamily] complexes near mass transit moved forward on February 6. The City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee voted 3-1 to forward the proposal for council approval on March 4. “Council members

How California voters’ view affordability, climate change, and forest fires

Quinnipiac University, February 6, 2019 “From January 30 – February 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 912 California voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points, including the design effect. “Affording the Golden State “Led by younger voters, 43 percent of California voters feel they can’t afford to live in the Golden State. Among

SB 100 is moving Oakland toward a zero-emissions future

CityLab, February 4, 2019 Teju Adisa-Farrar • “West Oakland residents’ decades-long resistance against poor air quality is starting to pay off as the Port of Oakland plans to reduce air pollution by transitioning to emissions-free solutions. “In June 2018, the Port released the Draft Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan. The Plan aims to improve

Local housing policies across California: Results of a new statewide survey

College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley, February 4, 2019 The Terner Center’s “residential land use survey [was conducted] in California from August 2017 to October 2018.” The survey analyzed responses from “252 incorporated places and 19 unincorporated county areas [to] questions on local zoning, approval processes, affordable housing policies, and rental regulations.” Here, from their

Exhibit Booths at NPC19!

Join the American Planning Association for the four-day National Planning Conference in San Francisco at the George R. Moscone Convention Center on April 13-16, 2019. Setting up an exhibit booth ensures that your company name and logo will be a familiar sight to more than 5,000 conference attendees. Raise your company’s profile in the planning

Director’s note — February 2019

James A. Castañeda, AICP What made you fall in love with planning? That was the icebreaker question at APA California’s Chapter Board retreat, which I had my first opportunity to attend a few weeks ago, representing you in my new role as Northern Section Director. At first I felt intimidated, but that question and the

Northern News — February 2019

You can download this month’s issue as a PDF, read it online as a virtual magazine, or review the contents below and click directly to articles and features. Below Market Rate in California Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP. How America’s first inclusionary housing came to be built 46 years ago in Palo Alto — a place consistently ranked as

Chicago buildings combine libraries, mixed-income housing

WTTW Chicago, January 24, 2019 Evan Garcia • Chicago has “two new buildings that combine libraries and affordable housing. A collaboration between the Chicago Public Library, which has 81 locations throughout the city, and the Chicago Housing Authority [aims to provide] housing and educational opportunities under the same roof.” One new “building offers 44 senior apartments,

Northern News Dec 2018-Jan 2019

You can download this month’s issue as a PDF, read it online as a virtual magazine, or review the contents below and click directly to articles and features. Assessing San Jose’s Diridon Station area SJSU MURP students. Changes coming to the area include California high-speed rail, a new Google campus, and a BART extension through downtown. In partnership

Northern News – November 2018

You can download this month’s issue as a PDF, read it online as a virtual magazine, or review the contents below and click directly to articles.   Can “inclusionary industrial” zoning save manufacturing space in San Francisco? Emily Nonko. An initiative to build affordable commercial space in San Francisco borrows from the affordable housing playbook. Page 1 Director’s

Northern News – October 2018

We came, we planned, we were wrong Pete Parkinson, AICP. One planner’s wildfire experience changed his views. Page 1 Director’s note Sharon Grewal, AICP. Daylong symposium on ‘Autonomous Vehicles and the City,’ Oct. 15. | There’s still time to register for the 2018 Chapter Conference in San Diego, Oct. 7–10 | New on the Northern

Meet a local planner – Duncan Watry, AICP

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Duncan Watry, AICP, about his role (since January 2020) as planning manager for the New Transbay Rail Crossing, a project of BART and the Capital Corridor Joint Powers Authority.

Inflection point: What we do when significant change occurs 

By Andrea Ouse, AICP, August 17, 2020. Planners are often the agents driving the changes voiced by our communities. We have a moral and ethical imperative to acknowledge and address systemic racism in the communities we serve. 

Local government planning in a post-COVID-19 world

By Dan Marks, AICP, May 12, 2020. Let’s build on the responses we’re making during this pandemic to improve the practice of local government planning and our professional well-being.

Local planner responds to news article on “Green gentrification”

By Avery Livengood, AICP, March 28, 2020. An article in last month’s ‘Planning news roundup’ implied that cities’ investments in green infrastructure cause gentrification and displacement, but there are differences between city funded and privately funded investments.

RAPID Climate Action Network starts up

By Mindy Craig. There are lots of big visions and strategies for acting on climate change. But what about immediate action? Here’s a way to amplify and accelerate action for climate change.

Planners who manage, planners who lead

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP, July 2008. Planners manage groups, projects, and organizations. But there are differences between a planner who leads and one who manages. This timeless list should shed some light.

Oakland 2100 – The Game

By Sarah Allen, AICP. This “game” offers a serious way to engage in identifying community desires and values related to design and urban planning, with a big side benefit of understanding some of the challenges that developers, residents, and the city face on a daily basis.

An American planner in Canada

“Logistically, crossing the border to the north and working as a planner couldn’t have been easier. The position of urban planner is one of 25 recognized under the NAFTA (and soon USMCA) trade agreements that allow an accelerated and simplified immigration process into Canada. All I needed was a job offer letter, copies of my résumé and planning degree, and a simple application form submitted at the border.”

Improving road safety in Oakland with equity

“When we ride out, we ride down the middle of the-street,” one resident told OakDOT. To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity in 2019 to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

The California Protected Areas Database and the California Conservation Easement Database have just been updated and are available for free download. CPAD and CCED are California’s authoritative parks and open space databases. They cover more than 15,000 parks and other protected areas, held by 1,000 agencies and nonprofits.

Northern News – September 2018

You can read the entire issue online as a virtual magazine, download it as a PDF, or click on the link at the end of each article description below. Cities urged to act on ride-hailing services Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP. A new report highlights the increasing use of ride-hailing services and cites the general absence of

In memoriam, Judith Innes, UC Berkeley planning theorist

From CED Berkeley News. From the early 1980s, Professor Innes was an authority on collaborative approaches to urban planning and decision-making, and was twice director of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at UC Berkeley.

Key characteristics of vibrant places

By Noah Friedman, August 18, 2020. Vibrancy is a reasonable proxy for a city’s general health and well-being. Essential to our cities’ future is an understanding of what makes the places where we come together vibrant.

TDM in a post-pandemic world

By Audrey Shiramizu, April 17, 2020. Working and commuting has changed significantly since shelter-in-place became the norm. How and where we work could — and should — look a lot different in the months to come.

1989 Cal Chapter conference pin

The world as I see it

By Marlene Stevenson, March 24, 2020, edited by Sajuti Rahman, associate editor. This is the first in a series of articles from our past Section Directors. From a list of 23 past directors going back to 1974, we found contact information for 16, and asked several of them to write about the differences between planning today and when they were section directors — or to write on any planning subject they wish. We have also published an article from former Section Director Darcy Kremin, AICP.

Meet a local planner – Martin Carver, AICP

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Martin Carver, AICP, Managing Partner of ZeroCity, LLC in Santa Cruz.

BART’s AB 2923 TOD Guidance Document and 10-Year Work Plan — what you need to know

By Sajuti Rahman, associate editor, Northern News, February 20, 2020. BART just released an outline for new TOD Guidelines on its properties, along with an outline for a Work Plan to make sure its TOD Program can respond to the new requirements in AB 2923. Unless local jurisdictions rezone by June 30, 2022, the localities’ zoning on BART properties will default to BART’s TOD zoning standards.

Meet a local planner — Ron Golem

Ron Golem, Director of Real Estate and Transit-Oriented Development for Valley Transit Authority in San Jose, discusses his job and professional views. Interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP.

Special Mobile Home zoning OK’d to save affordable housing

“Advocates said they hope to prevent conversions at a time when owners could be tempted to redevelop the properties to capitalize on rising housing and land costs. Such conversions have occurred in high-cost areas elsewhere in California, where mobile home parks are one of the few remaining sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, county officials said.”

Northern Section election result

In a Section-wide election held in November, Michael P. Cass was elected to continue as Northern Section’s Treasurer for a two-year term, commencing January 1, 2020. He had been appointed Treasurer in March 2019 to fill a vacancy.

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

SB 234 (Skinner), signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2019, makes every licensed large-family child care home a permitted use by right, just like small-family child care homes. Although the new law will go into effect January 1, 2020, some local planning departments are already getting a head start to support their communities. (Article by Julia Frudden and Andrew Mogensen, AICP.)

Centering planning in the federal Surface Transportation debate

By Jason Jordan, September 3, 2020. The next federal transportation bill is poised to take a planning-led approach to issues ranging from climate change and resilience to new mobility and social equity. Congress needs to hear directly from planners and other community leaders about the importance of acting now.

Planning profession trends under Covid-19

By Mark Rhoades, AICP, August 19, 2020. Broad changes and trends are currently underway, especially with respect to Covid-19 and housing implementation. 

Reflections between Zoom meetings

By Hanson Hom, AICP, June 7, 2020. This is the third in a series of articles from our past Section Directors. We asked several to write about the differences between planning today and when they were section directors — or to write on any planning subject they wish.

The New World Order, from a consultant’s point of view

By Darcy Kremin, AICP, April 14, 2020, edited by Sajuti Rahman, associate editor. This is the second in a series of articles from past Section Directors. Also see the article from former Section Director Marlene Stevenson.

Planning grad: Welcome to the working world

From the archive, by James Castañeda, AICP, June 2015. “The real world started for me right after I graduated from college. Hold on to your passion. Never lose sight of who you are, what you’re doing, and, most importantly, why you’re doing it.”

Meet a local planner

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Cindy Ma, AICP, the Director of Planning at KTGY Architecture + Planning in Oakland. Ma is also Planning Diversity Co-director for APA California-Northern Section, a position she’s held since 2012.

Here are the Northern News survey results

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP. The survey was emailed on January 14 and remained open for seven days. Just under half of the respondents work for public agencies; 35.8 percent work for private firms or are self-employed; 93.9 percent had read Northern News in 2019; and 86.4 percent are APA members.

Meet a local planner – Danielle DeRuiter-Williams

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Danielle DeRuiter-Williams, Co-Founder and Head of Growth and Expansion at The Justice Collective in Oakland, a women-of-color-led social impact consultancy. Ms. DeRuiter-Williams recently spoke at the two-session Chapter President’s panel, “Cultural and Implicit Bias Training for Planners,” at the APA California 2019 conference in Santa Barbara. In this interview, Ms. Kidd asks what The Justice Collective was intended to accomplish, and what challenges Danielle DeRuiter-Williams has faced and is facing.

San Diego looks to scrap residential density limits, use FAR instead

“San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opening another salvo in his administration’s efforts to address the city’s housing affordability crisis by proposing the ‘Complete Communities Housing Solutions Initiative,’ a scheme that looks beyond simply building new housing to embrace holistic urban development. The proposal [would] refocus the zoning code to incentivize the development of smaller units and allow housing developers to offer community amenities that are decoupled from auto-oriented uses.”

Libby Tyler, FAICP, is a 2020 Dale Prize Winner

The $5,000 prize recognizes excellence in urban and regional planning. Two prizes will be awarded at Cal Poly Pomona March 5 and 6, 2020.

Northern News – July/August 2018

You can read the entire issue online as a virtual magazine, download it as a PDF, or click on the links at the end of the individual articles (below). Creating built environments for an aging population Matt Raimi, AICP. Planning — so important to improving our communities as our population changes — is all the more

Call for nominations: Election of Northern Section leaders

Beginning Nov. 2nd, you will be electing a new Director-Elect and Administrative Director. But first, we need nominations (due by October 16).

Director’s note

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, August 19, 2020. This has been a year for re-evaluating priorities, values, and future directions. We’re at a point where we can’t ignore our society’s injustices and our collective role in them.

Meet a Local Planner: William Lieberman, AICP

William Lieberman, AICP, Principal Planner at CHS Consulting Group in San Francisco, discusses his 50-year career as a transit planner for public agencies and as a private sector consultant. Interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP, May 11, 2020.

Meet a local planner: C.J. Gabbe, AICP, PhD

Interviewed by Catarina Kidd, AICP, April 15, 2020. This month’s guest — an urban planner and assistant professor in environmental studies and sciences at Santa Clara University — discusses his job and offers his professional views.

Coronavirus: Top 10 issues for employers

By Esra A. Hudson and Michael E. Olsen, Manatt Employment Law, March 9, 2020. Here are some steps that all employers can take to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, starting with good and open communication.


To ignore low-income neighborhoods of color perpetuates disinvestment. But to invest in them through better transit, walkable streets, or the amenities that accompany TOD, risks exacerbating gentrification and displacement pressures. This book addresses that conundrum. —Excerpts from a review in JAPA by Adam Millard-Ball, associate professor of environmental studies, UC Santa Cruz.

Building a community of tiny homes for homeless veterans in Sonoma County

From HUD USER, September 24, 2019. Veterans Village in Santa Rosa houses 14 chronically homeless veterans who receive supportive services and rental assistance. The project’s status as a two-year pilot allowed it to take advantage of an exception to the normal requirements of CEQA.

San Diego city council strengthens inclusionary requirements

The new law requires developers to make 10 percent of the homes they build available to low-income renters — those earning 60 percent of Area Median Income — or pay an in lieu fee of $25 per square foot to opt out of the inclusionary requirement.

Getting downtowns moving with convenient and sustainable access

More than 30 local residents, stakeholders, and policymakers attended and participated in a spirited discussion around the opportunities for — and constraints around — accessing busy downtowns through more sustainable modes, the role parking management plays in increasing access and mitigating congestion, and the idea that building affordable housing near job centers is a TDM measure.

Help us build our Communications Team

Are you someone who likes connecting fellow planners together and is interested in helping us get out the word on all of our great programming? Then we want to talk to you! The Northern Section is in the process of building a stellar communications team to help us reach our 1,700 members through our various

Director’s note: Planning in a State of Change

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, September 17, 2020. We continually adapt to environmental, societal, economic, and other changes. But adaptation doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t happen by promoting the status quo.

Over 50 sessions and networking events!

We need 65 planning students and Young Planners to volunteer to work the virtual conference. Click below for information and to register (no cost to volunteers). 

Virtual community engagement: Advancing the vision for the Alum Rock community of San Jose

By Samie Malakiman, Gwen Buckley, Larissa Sanderfer, Nhan Le, Manee Jacobo, May 11, 2020. SJSU graduate students report on their engagement work with the Alum Rock Community in San Jose during the time of COVID-19.

Annual Housing Progress Report to HCD is still due April 1

The April 1 due date is in statute and HCD cannot change it. Cities can submit the APR to HCD before taking it to their council, and submit a revised APR to HCD at any time.

Half Moon Village contributes affordable housing to a campus where seniors can age in place

From HUD USER, January 2020. A collaboration among San Mateo County, the city of Half Moon Bay, and local service providers resulted in the Half Moon Bay Senior Campus, which provides housing, services, and amenities on a 10-acre site. The campus, following a 2009 plan, consists of 264 units of affordable rental housing in three separate developments that help senior residents age in place. Half Moon Village earned a 2017–2018 Global Award for Excellence from ULI for its integration of housing, common spaces, and services intended to encourage resident interaction and an active lifestyle for seniors.

In memoriam: Pioneering equity planner Norman Krumholz, FAICP

By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, December 21, 2019. Norman Krumholz was part of a generation of urban thinkers who reacted against federally-funded Urban Renewal projects that displaced low income and minority residents. He was a widely known advocate for equity planning, holding that planners should work to improve life for the city’s poorest residents rather than serve powerful interests in big development projects. He was the coauthor of several books, including “Making Equity Planning Work,” 1990.

SJSU graduate planning students at public workshop

A community engagement project: Toward a Vision for the Alum Rock Community of San Jose

“The goal of this graduate student ‘capstone’ project was to assist San Jose’s Alum Rock community in creating a vision for future development in the area, focusing on and incorporating community engagement. To that end, we interviewed area residents, businesses, and community leaders to help understand the assets and issues they prioritized. Our engagement with local residents included two phases: community assessment (data collection and analysis) and a collaborative community engagement event.” Illustrated.

Houston is calling: NPC Member-only registration through January 8

If you plan on going to Houston April 25–28, register now. Through January 8, you will have exclusive access to claim tickets for mobile workshops, orientation tours, and other popular activities.

Worth a look: SF’s most underrated buildings

Curbed San Francisco readers reveal the local unpraised buildings they love most.

Last chance to register for the May 2020 AICP EXAM

Our spring workshops are an excellent way to start studying for the May 2020 exam. Those who attend receive hundreds of multiple choice practice test questions, with answers and rationales, plus study materials such as a summary of the classic planning texts and our unique “Tips on the AICP Exam.”

Share your best 2020 experiences during our annual holiday celebration

Celebrate the best of 2020 with a single hashtag. Submit 2020’s positive, wholesome, amazing, or good planning-related events, experiences, projects, or ideas.

Eight from Northern Section pass spring-summer 2020 AICP exam

Circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic led national APA to extend the May 2020 examination through July.

CalChapter 2020 Conference will be virtual

Julia Lave Johnston, President of APA California, announced that the Chapter’s 2020 conference this Fall will be held online. The conference will nevertheless remain an “opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our organizational values.”

COVID-19 reveals how micromobility can build resilient cities

By Michal Naka, Next City, April 6, 2020. Micromobility can help cities build resilience in times of crisis, whether we face a pandemic, an earthquake, flooding, or severe weather brought on by climate change.

Director’s note

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, March 18, 2020. As I work from home, I’m learning much about my colleagues and their families, enabling me to empathize, better understand their thought processes, and work together more effectively.

Call for Northern Section 2020 Award nominations

Northern Section Award winners will be fêted at a Gala, Friday, June 5. But first, they have to be nominated. (March 13 is the deadline to submit.) Click “Read more” for the awards categories and links to details, rules, and application forms.

Director’s note: What’s your Superpower?

By James Castañeda, AICP. Now more than ever, we planners, as agents of change, need to exercise our problem-solving superpowers.

Who’s where

In this segment, we cover three new appointments to the Northern Section Board and four job changes from the Peninsula to the North Bay: Della Acosta, AICP; Curtis Banks, AICP; Leslie Carmichael, AICP; Zachary Dahl, AICP; Veronica Flores; Gillian Hayes; and Edgar Maravilla. Congratulations all!

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

San Leandro Sets Higher-Density Future for Bay Fair BART Station Area

Lars Halle and Tom Liao Concluding a two-year public planning process with workshops and a 21-person Community Advisory Committee, the San Leandro city council in February adopted the 154-acre Bay Fair Transit-Oriented Development Specific Plan. The plan is the community’s long-term vision for a vibrant and sustainable, higher density, mixed-use “transit village” in proximity to

Who’s Where

News about Andy Ross.

In memoriam, Brian Mattson, 84

The deceased in 1999. Bay Area planners may remember him as the planning director in Novato and the community development director in Vallejo.

Director’s note: Rethinking our public spaces and health

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, May 13, 2020. Is everything upside down, or is it suddenly right side up?

Who’s where

In this segment, curated by associate editor Sajuti Rahman, we highlight a change in the APA Northern Section Board and six job changes: Amalia Lorentz Cunningham, AICP; Delo Freitas; Brian Heaton, AICP; James Murphy; Lauren Ninkovich; and Melissa Ruhl. Congratulations all!

Law and Ethics CM credits REGISTRATION is OPEN

By Libby Tyler, FAICP. Learn how California housing legislation is preempting local planning review and signaling the end of exclusive single-family zoning. Then play a popular learning game in a lively and engaging refresher of the Code of Ethics with Darcy Kremin, AICP.

Northern News adds editors

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, editor. The Northern Section Board’s executive committee has appointed three associate editors.

Northern Section Holiday Party kicks off the Season

Photos by Northern Section Webmaster Tom Holub. Some 100+ attended the Nov. 22 event at La Peña Cultural Center, a longtime Berkeley institution.

SF Teens Bring Home National APA Gold

Four northern California submittals receive ‘achievement awards’ at national conference From APA When three high school students noticed an increase in traffic near a popular San Francisco parklet in 2014, they founded Street Air, a study of the street’s design and air pollution measurements, to determine the busy thoroughfare’s effects on nearby pedestrians. Now in

Orange Day photos

By Brendan Hurley. The Bay Bridge seen from the Embarcadero on April 14 and September 9, 2020.

San Francisco landlords lose lawsuit

By Jared Brey, Next City, August 7, 2020. Property owners filed suit “to protect their rights” against a permanent ban on evicting tenants for rent payments they miss because of the pandemic.

Are congested streets and highways just around the corner?

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, editor, May 9, 2020. Post COVID-19, SF could see a huge spike in vehicular congestion “unless transit systems can resume safe, high throughput operations quickly.” Plus 12 photos of the near total absence of vehicles on Bay Area bridges and SF streets during the Friday afternoon getaway March 27.

Governor suspends Brown and Bagley-Keene Act meeting requirements

A recent Executive Order order authorizes California’s state and local bodies to hold public meetings by teleconference and to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to all members of the public seeking to attend and to address the local or state agencies.

Director’s note

“I challenge everyone — including myself — to find areas where we can expand our knowledge, learn new skills, take on risks, and continue to be leaders who can shape our world so future generations can thrive.” —Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, Section Director.

Who’s where

In this segment, we cover eight job changes from around the Bay Area: James Castañeda, AICP; Elizabeth Caraker, AICP; Nisha Chauhan, AICP; Ellen Clark, AICP; Coleman Frick; Evan Kenward; Carolyn Neer, AICP; Matthew Stafford, AICP. Congratulations all!

Northern News – June 2018

HOUSING Reverse BANANA: Build all Kinds of Housing Almost Everywhere Naphtali Knox, FAICP, interviews Denise Pinkston, MCRP. We need that “missing middle,” from ADUs to fourplexes. If a third of the Bay Area’s existing single-family homes each added one unit over the next decade, we would add half-a-million homes with no visible disruption to our

Flier for SJSU's inaugural event launching Spatial Analytics and Visualization (SAVI) Center's GIStalks series

AICP | CM: Leading in a crisis with spatial data

SJSU’s 90-minute webinar is on October 2 at 11:30. AICP | CM 1.5 credits pending.

Northern News recognizes our content providers for 2019

Thanks to the 27 planners who wrote for this publication last year, and to Andrea Mardesich, a former associate editor, who scoured past issues to prepare this list.

Who’s Where

News about Alesia Hsiao, AICP; Amy Lyle; and Patrick Streeter, AICP

CPF Scholarship deadline extended to Sunday, May 31

Check here for everything you need to know about applying for the 2020-21 California Planning Foundation Scholarships for outstanding planning students.

Who’s where

In this segment, we highlight nine job changes: Jonathan Schuppert, AICP; Emily Carroll; Florentina Craciun, AICP; Andrew Hatt; James Hinkamp, AICP; Brianne Reyes; Atisha Varshney, AICP; Rafael Velázquez; and Kara Vuicich, AICP. Congratulations all!

SFUFF starts Sunday; some events are free

By Fay Darmawi. SF Urban Film Fest aims to leverage the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues. SFUFF focuses on what it means to live together in a city and how to make urban planning more equitable and inclusive.

Meet a Local Planner

Michael Smith, AICP, is senior planner at the City of San Bruno Community Development Department. He volunteers as a member of his neighborhood design review board. Tell us where you live, work, and attended school. I live in San Francisco with my family and work for the City of San Bruno. I earned a master


Readers from around the state share kudos for Northern News. 

Affordable housing in Silicon Valley puts focus on sustainability

From HUD User, PD&R Edge, August 3, 2020. Edwina Benner Plaza, Sunnyvale, provides 66 units of affordable housing, generates half of the project’s electricity needs, and makes up the remaining 50 percent from renewable sources.

Northern Section postpones planning tour to Middle East

Given the severity of and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, our planning tour to the Middle East, originally scheduled for 2020, is postponed until 2021.

Northern Section Board Retreat photo

Click the ‘Read more’ button to see the crowd at Northern Section’s annual Board Retreat, held this year at Sonoma State University, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Northern News’ associate editor Richard Davis represented the editorial staff.

Who’s Where – May 2018

Beth Altshuler has been appointed Chair of Northern Section’s committee on Planners4Health. She is a Senior Associate and Public Health Planning Specialist at Raimi + Associates where she has worked since 2010. Before that, she was a project associate at MIG, Inc., and the program designer and director for a pilot youth employment program through

Northern Section is more than the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas

By Alex Hinds, September 11, 2020. Small town post offices dot our Northern Section. They’re critical, and loved.

Alameda County Heat Vulnerability Map

By the Alameda County Office of Sustainability, August 19, 2020. This interactive map illustrates social and environmental factors that contribute to community heat vulnerability in Alameda County.

Future of SB 50 up in the LA air

By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2020. A coalition of groups representing low-income communities now opposes Senate Bill 50. That’s a blow to efforts to advance the bill before the Jan. 31 deadline for it to pass the Senate.

Enter Now to Compete for a State Planning Award

Submit your outstanding project, program, plan, or person for this year’s APA California Planning Awards. Nominations are due by Noon on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. NOTE: Some nominations require a win at the Section level to be eligible for a Chapter award. Refer to the APA California Chapter Awards Program Policy for more information or

SFCTA, looking to congestion pricing, wants input

By Carly Graf, SF Examiner. A study recommendation is to be presented to the SFCTA board by next year. Implementation would take two years.

Who’s where

News about Mayank Patel and Sarah Yuwiler.

Long term effects of disasters

By Lily Jamali, KQED News, January 22, 2020. Three-quarters of new addresses listed in Paradise, CA, are for P.O. boxes, not homes — indicating these Camp Fire survivors haven’t gone far. But hundreds have left and moved east of the Rockies (map).

Judith McManus Price Scholarship Available for Women and Minorities

From APA Deadline June 1 Judith McManus Price, a planner for more than 30 years before her death in 2001, was an exceptional woman with extraordinary talents that she freely shared, not only with her family and friends, but also with her community, her colleagues, and her profession. She served the public sector in a

‘Monster in the Mission’ site slated for affordable housing

By Jared Brey, September 11, 2020. A group has agreed to buy the site and donate the land to the city for affordable housing to fulfill the affordability requirements of a separate project of nearly 1,000 units.

Small affordable housing project saved by city loan

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Online, January 19, 2020. HCD rejected a grant of $10.5 million for a 59-unit development that will target low-income residents and include units for adults with developmental disabilities. The city stepped in to bridge the gap with a $10.5 million loan made up of impact and “in lieu” fees.

Demand a Fair and Accurate Census

APA InterACT, April 11, 2018 The U.S. Department of Commerce recently decided to include a new and untested citizenship question in the 2020 Census. Experts on both sides of the aisle have opposed the decision, as have APA and other organizations. APA President Cynthia Bowen, AICP, recently wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and expressed

Northern News recognizes our photographers for 2019

Thanks to the 21 people who provided photos for this publication last year. Andrea Mardesich scoured past issues to prepare this list.

Hundreds of SoCal homeless individuals and low-income families to receive safe, affordable housing

By Joseph Ronson, LifePulseHealth.com, January 16, 2020. A nonprofit affordable housing and service provider in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will utilize $24 million from HCD to build three new projects with 147 homes for low-income families, some of them homeless.

Where in the World?

Heidelberg, a city of 160,000 in southwestern Germany. In this view from Heidelberg castle, the Old Town is in the foreground. At center right is the Old Bridge over the river Neckar. Photo: Ray Hashimoto, AICP.  ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Yes, this study found that new housing drives down nearby rents

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, January 15, 2020. Three years after a building’s completion, the adjusted effects on rents in the surrounding neighborhood hover around zero.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Northern News – May 2018

APA NATIONAL’S GOLD ACHIEVEMENT AWARD GOES TO SF TEENS. Marin County, San Francisco, and San Jose also received achievement awards at the APA national conference in New Orleans, April 23rd. Page 1 SUCCESSFUL MARCH 29 SUMMIT ON LIVABLE COMMUNITIES FOR ALL AGES. Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP. Northern Section collaborated with AARP to plan and host the Summit

Growing cities up: California’s SB 50 is a model for addressing the urban housing crisis.

By Christopher S. Elmendorf in City-journal.org, January 14, 2020. The revamped SB50 has changed from the original in many ways.

South San Francisco Looking for Applicants for their Design Review Board

The City of South San Francisco is now accepting applications for those interested in serving on the City’s Design Review Board (DRB) advisory committee.  Following the approval of the City’s Downtown Station Area Specific Plan (DSASP) in 2015, the City has experienced a substantial increase in development interest and applications citywide. To learn more about

Why affordable housing is facing a perfect storm

By Kelsi Maree Borland, GlobeSt.com, January 13, 2020. Housing costs are being driven up by more than just supply and demand.

UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design Now Accepting Applications for Planning-Focused Summer Programs

Disc* (Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities) is a five week summer program geared towards currently enrolled undergraduates with any level of previous experience in planning. Participants conduct field work, develop visual communication, mapping and design software skills, and connect with practitioners and faculty in a series of lectures and seminars on climate resiliency, global

Sprawling homeless camps well beyond San Francisco

By Eric Westervelt, NPR, January 13, 2020. Homelessness — a hard-to-fix national problem — is particularly severe in California. The state’s homeless population jumped 16 percent in 2019. A January 2020 HUD report notes that California’s homeless population of more than 150,000 accounts for 53 percent of all unsheltered people in the U.S.

Northern News – April 2018

“HOW I BECAME A PLANNING DIRECTOR.” YPG’s Veronica Flores reports. Following a panel discussion, 12 planning directors each met with five young planners and emerging professionals in a comfortable setting to share what they know. Page 1 WHERE IN THE WORLD. A photo by Erin Camarera from a country we have not previously covered. Page

SB 35 invoked to build 91 townhomes in Saratoga

By Janice Bitters, San Jose Spotlight, January 9, 2019. Sand Hill Property Co. previously invoked SB 35 at the Vallco Shopping Mall redevelopment in Cupertino, promising half the residential units to those earning less than the median income. Sand Hill is now pursuing a much smaller SB 35-compliant development with 10 percent of the units for very low-income residents.

Northern News – March 2018

FINDING AND SUPPORTING ALLIES FOR LIVABLE COMMUNITIES (of all ages). Erin McAuliff. Supportive built environments can strengthen individual relationships, ensure access to care, resources, and recreation, and reduce isolation across the lifespan. Page 1 PLANNERS AND STUDENTS VISIT BRAZIL FOR COLLABORATIVE SERVICE AND LEARNING. Mike Jacobson, with Alex Hinds, Tonya Veitch, and Hing Wong, AICP. Members of a

The housing crisis is a problem for everyone — even wealthy homeowners

By Ally Schweitzer, WAMU American University Radio, January 9, 2020. High housing costs affect those who can’t afford to buy or rent. They also impact employers, local governments, the neighborhood coffee shop, and even well-to-do homeowners as traffic worsens, employers struggle to find workers, and cost-burdened people buy less.

Northern News – February 2018

HELP FOR A NEIGHBORHOOD AS GOOGLE ARRIVES. Nicole Guzman, with Nikki Chan and Michael Tkalcevic. Graduate students help San Jose’s Delmas Park neighborhood, continuing work started by the city’s now-defunct Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. Pages 1 and 18–20 WATER RESILIENCE IN THE BAY AREA IN RESPONSE TO A CHANGING CLIMATE. Holly Pearson, AICP. The Bay Area needs to

Northern News – December 2017/January 2018

HOW CITY PLANNING CAN CHANGE AN ANTI-AGING CULTURE. Josh Cohen, Next City. Elderly residents find services and social opportunities spread out and access difficult. Housing affordability can be a struggle. At least one city wants to change that. Page 1 IN MEMORIAM. Valentin (Val) Alexeeff and George A. Williams. Pages 4-5 NORTHERN SECTION’S YOUNG PLANNERS GROUP IS

Northern News – November 2017

THE BAY AREA GREENPRINT TOOL. Elizabeth Adam and Serena Unger. Regional conservation data for local benefit: a powerful new interactive web tool to show multi-benefit assessments. Page 1 DIRECTOR’S NOTE. Sharon Grewal, AICP. North Bay fire assistance resources | Housing package implementation webinar | Holiday party November 17 | SF Urban Film Festival, Storytelling Workshop, November 19.

Northern News – October 2017

PUTTING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE INTO GENERAL PLANS. California Environmental Justice Alliance and PlaceWorks. New requirements for general plan updates plus a toolkit to guide you through SB1000 requirements. Page 1 DIRECTOR’S NOTE. Sharon Grewal, AICP. Northern Section commits to ‘Planners4Health’ Program. Page 3 MEET A LOCAL PLANNER. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Timothy Rood, AICP, principal city designer, City of

Northern News – September 2017

SAN JOSE 1st, SAN FRANCISCO 4th AMONG U.S. MAJOR CITIES PURSUING SUSTAINABILITY. Rick Phillips, AICP. The U.S. organization Sustainable Development Solutions Network ranked 100 U.S. cities against the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Page 1 OAKLAND’S AWARD-WINNING LAKESIDE SENIOR APARTMENTS. HUD USER. The design promotes neighborhood engage- ment, accessibility, effective service delivery, and environmental sustainability. Page 6 MEET

Urban Planning Tour to Southeast Asia


Northern News – July/August 2017

NEW APPROACHES TO CURB SKYROCKETING RENTS. Barry Miller, FAICP. Eschewing rent control, a growing number of Bay Area cities are turning to non-binding mediation and rent review. Here are the factors to consider. Page 1 DIRECTOR’S NOTE. Sharon Grewal, AICP. Upcoming webinars include wireless communications facilities and current state legislation. Page 3 THE VERY BEST! Photos from the

Director’s Notes – 2017

By Sharon Grewal, AICP, Northern Section Director We are beginning the year with significant change in Washington, but I believe we at the local level have the greatest impact in shaping our communities. In these challenging times, we, the planning community, have the opportunity to be a force for good and a force for change.

Northern News – June 2017

PLANNING STUDENTS EMPLOY TACTICAL URBANISM TO ENGAGE SAN JOSE’S NORTHSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD. Carly Panos. This well-intentioned student project hit a bureaucratic roadblock and faced planning fatigue in the community. Results and lessons learned. Page 1 DESIGNING FOR PEOPLE IN AN ERA OF SELF-DRIVING CARS. William Riggs, Melissa Ruhl and Nico Larco. What policy considerations should be made for

Northern News – May 2017

IS CEQA HURTING THE CHANCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN ‘THE BAYLANDS’ PROJECT? Charla Gomez, AICP. Environmental review of a sustainable development proposed for a major brownfield site adjoining San Francisco began six years ago and is wrapping up. Can it be sustainable without housing? Page 1 MEET A LOCAL PLANNER. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Paul Jensen, AICP, San Rafael’s community development director.

Northern News – April 2017

FROM NEGLECTED ALLEY TO ‘OPEN GALLERY,’ A WORK IN PROGRESS. Jason Su. A North American fellowship launched a project to engage people in improving a downtown San Jose alley. Page 1 SILICON VALLEY HAS A PLAN FOR BUILDING A “STRESS-FREE” BIKE NETWORK. Rachel Dovey, Next City. A new report lays out a detailed vision for improving the region’s bike network.

Northern News – March 2017

Greening Silicon Valley. Holly Pearson, AICP, interviews Cynthia Clark, Chief Development Officer, Sustainable Silicon Valley. SSV is working with cities, counties, and companies to promote smart energy, carbon, and water solutions. Page 1 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Elizabeth Shreeve, AICP, ASLA, principal, SWA Group. Page 8 Teaching methods in urban planning using Planetizen Courses. William Riggs,

Northern News – January/February 2017

How to get By-Right Zoning right. Karen Parolek. A community will accept a by-right review process if preceded by a Form-Based Code prescribing what’s appropriate to the neighborhood. Page 1 Assessing San Jose’s Northside neighborhood. Lillian Hua and Kyle Kryak. A student report will undergird future planning efforts in the neighborhood. P. 4 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Andrea Ouse,

Future-ready City-Regions: The Next Competitive Edge?

A recent post by Alex Steffan poses some provocative challenges to urban planning and urban planners, and municipal executives around the world. In a sense, it illuminates the core challenge and intention of the world’s new Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda. The following paraphrases and excerpts the key points.

Northern News – December 2016

Planning our communities for an aging population. Ramona Mullahey. Realistic and workable services and policies to better serve an aging America. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Adapting Northern Section to changing times. Page 3 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP interviews Sharon Grewal, AICP, Northern Section’s Director elect. Page 7 Northern Section partners with Sustainable Silicon

See how planning is done in São Paulo, Brazil

Interested in how planning is done in Brazil’s largest metropolitan? As part of the Northern Section’s international collaboration program with the municipality of São Paulo, English subtitles were added to their impressive video below – highlighting São Paulo’s recently adopted Master Plan. ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

EVENT: Habitat III And Bay Area Sustainability Planning

Dates/Times:  THUR Nov. 17th and TUES Nov. 22nd (come one or both days). Time:   2-3:30 pm (student presentations), 3:45-4:30pm (tentative Debrief/Q&A w Prof. Acey; must RSVP here/below) Please RSVP (1) for attending the student presentations (courtesy option) and (2) for the Debrief (required) in the google form below (or click). Location:  ROOM 106, Wurster Hall, University of California, Berkeley

Northern News – November 2016

Artist gives citizens simple tools to design public spaces. Jen Kinney. Next City article features planning-related art by Cupertino artist/arts educator. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Board elections coming up. Mentorship program heating up. APA California Conference starts this weekend. Page 3 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Jesse Schofield, AICP, associate transportation planner,

Webinar (111716): Creating Living Communities

APA Sustainable Communities Division Webinar Series Co-hosted by APA California and the Northern Section Sustainability Committee CM | 1.0 (live viewing only) Thurs. Nov. 17, 2016, Noon to 1pm (PST) REGISTER HERE In this webinar, we will explore The Living Community Challenge (LCC), a new design framework developed by the International Living Future Institute (the

Event: UCB/APA Habitat III — Implications for Local Planning

Held September 27–Habitat 3 and the New Urban Agenda: Global Negotiations, Local Implications, UC Berkeley, 112 Wurster Hall, Berkeley, 6:00-7:30 pm. The UCB IURD and APA California Norther Sustainability Committee co-hosted a panel discussion on the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat 3) held from October 17-20 in Quito, Ecuador. /1/  The Conference

October 2016

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda: Global negotiations, local implications. Holly R. Pearson, AICP. Background and context, preparations for Habitat III and the drafting of the New Urban Agenda, content of the Draft New Urban Agenda, and implications for the San Francisco Bay Area. Page 1 Seattle: Expanding affordable senior housing and building community. HUD

From Biophilic Buildings to Cities Workshop – SF, Arup, CMU-BCA, BCN

Biophilia – The DNA for Resilient, Sustainable, and Human 21st Century Cities   OR   Should Cities be “Green” with Nature? “We need nature in our lives more than ever today, and as more of us are living in cities it must be urban nature. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are

Sustainable City Template–Hammarby

Sustainable new build: Hammarby Sjöstad is Stockholm’s largest urban construction project. The “Hammarby model” has become a tool for environmentally friendly city development around the world. When completed in 2017, 26,000 people will be living here in 11,500 apartments. The district has been planned using an eco-cycle approach and is intended to showcase ecological and environmentally sensitive construction and

September 2016

Preserving Napa’s historic character. Catarina Kidd, Associate Editor, interviews Lilly Bianco, a historic preservation specialist and associate planner for M-Group. Page 1 Where in the world. Photo by Fay Darmawi. Page 3 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Kenya Wheeler, AICP, senior environmental planner for the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. P. 6 Establishing a clearly defined path

Biophilic City Planning & Design References

Some References of some of the leading pioneers: Biophilic Cities Network (BCN) Home Page: http://biophiliccities.org Stephen Kellert Yale Bio: https://environment.yale.edu/profile/kellert/ See also his recent book Birthright-People in Nature in the Modern World, which is exceptional (link to NPR interview here: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/20/169523283/connectingwithnature-to-reclaim-our-natural-birthright Recording of Kellert’s Keynote to the Biophilic Cities network Launch Event: http://biophiliccities.org/launch/ (includes link

Sustainability Champions Launch

The APA’s Sustainable Communities Division (SCD) launched its sustainability leadership program, the Sustainability Champion (SC) program after nominations were made and champions were selected in August-September, 2014. Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, ISSP-SA, of the APA California Northern Section was selected as one of the champions and is looking forward to working with the California Chapter Board

July/August 2016

The future of Bay Area housing markets and income inequality. Nina Gruen. Dramatic changes in America’s ethnic and racial mix promise long term economic and real estate impacts. Page 1 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP, interviews Sailesh Mehra, Chief City Planner, city of South San Francisco. P. 7 Brexit: A planner’s view from London. Ellen Greenberg, FAICP.

Regenerative Urbanism Rising – Webinar & Resources

More resources on the APA Sustainable Communities Division web site here. There is also a Sustainable Communities Division Group Linked In discussion here. A list or key references and links can be found here (forthcoming July 16th). SHORT Description.  Pivoting from a net negative to net positive trajectory soon is our current sustainability planning challenge. 

June 2016

Let’s plan our cities to house (not warehouse) our elderly. Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP. Our expanding elderly population needs more assisted-living facilities. Plan for them now; you or your parents may be living there. Page 1 Northern Section 2016 Award winners announced. Page 3 One-third of residents: ‘Bye-bye Bay Area.’ Jen Kinney, Next City. Bay Area

Jane Jacobs 100 B-Day Google Doodle

Well, google did a pretty good job with his one! (May 4, 2016). Their lead point:  “Why have cities not, long since, been identified, understood and treated as problems of organized complexity?” Check it out. Think about it! [Post prepared by Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, founder/past co-director and Research Program Lead of the Northern Section’s Sustainability Committee,

May 2016

Environmental planning achievement award. Stakeholders worked three years to produce San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Water Facility Master Plan. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Awards Program (June 10, SF). Half-day ethics and law courses, 1.5 AICP|CM credits each (April 30, Oakland). Page 3 Stanford: 1450 new student-housing units. 2019 occupancy for redevelopment of the university’s 17-acre Escondido Village. Scott

April 2016

Planning tour to SE Asia, 2017
. Alex Hinds, Hing Wong, AICP. Meeting April to narrow down destinations. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Board openings for planning commissioner representative, webmaster, and mentorship director. Page 3 In memoriam. Joe Horwedel, AICP, former San Jose planning director, died Feb. 22 after battling cancer. Page 4 Norcal roundup. Page 5 Climate change receipts fund affordable

March 2016

Shaping campuses. 
Dan Kenney, AIA, AICP, explores the forces that shaped college campuses since the 1950s and 60s and how to heal and restore them. Page 1 Meet a local planner. Siân Llewellyn, AICP interviews Aidan Hughes, Arup’s North Americas Planning Practice group leader. Page 4 Assessing traffic impacts under CEQA. Barbara Schussman discusses how the new draft CEQA guidelines for traffic

New On-Demand Videos from APA California

APA California is offering free one-click previews of its entire on-demand video catalog — including six new titles from the 2015 Oakland Conference. Convenient, informative, inexpensive and timely, these videos are the next best thing to attending a live conference session. Let’s get rid of those CM credit deficits! Click here to view video previews!

February 2016

AB 57: A brave new world for cell antennas and towers in California. Omar Masry, AICP, and Robert “Tripp” May. Planners must learn to navigate this new law that expedites the review process more than ever for wireless applicants. Page 1 Norcal roundup. Excerpts from around our Northern Section, linked to the original articles. Page 6 APA Awards

UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design – Now Accepting Summer Applications

We’re excited to announce that the application portal for 2016 CED Summer Programs is now open! The College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley offers several introductory summer programs for those interested in exploring the fields of city and regional planning, urban design and environmental planning. Visit the CED Summer Programs page for

December 2015-January 2016

Regulate rents to build equitable communities. Alex Lantsberg, AICP. Missing: any impact on existing housing supply from rent control. Page 1 For Christmas: a bunch of guidelines. Brian Grattidge. New environmental and planning guidelines, and more to come. Page 3 50% renewable energy in California by 2030. Josh Hohn, AICP, and Ethan Elkind, CLEE. Meeting the SB 350 target for the new Renewable Portfolio

The Greening of Planning Credentials – Top Recommendations

This is a cross post from Planetizen written by Eliot Allen, LEED AP-ND, who is an instructor for TransformativeTools.org and a principal at Criterion Planners of Portland Oregon. Monday, November 9, 2015 – 2:00pm PST. As sustainability initiatives gain momentum, planners have a growing number of options for credentialing their green skills. Introduction:  “With this year on track to be

UCB/APA Briefing: The UN’s New SDGs & Implications for Local Practice

SUMMARY.  December 8 & 10 (TUES & THURS), 2:00-5pm (the Briefing starts at 3pm; the optional pre-briefing review of city cases starts at 2pm), University of California, College of Environmental Design, Wurster Hall, Room 106, Berkeley. Please attend one or both days. The briefing will be the same each day but half the cases will be covered

November 2015

What a great conference! Little-known stats from the APA California conference in Oakland October 3-6, and a photographic overview of the mobile workshop to the Facebook and Google campuses in Menlo Park and Mountain View. Page 1 The economic consequences of housing supply constraints. Claude Gruen, Ph.D. The streets of San Francisco throng with well off people; the

The “Wicked” Planning Problem of Bay Area Sustainability

One session at the APA California Conference in Oakland–Bay Area Sustainability:  Wicked Planning and Conflict Identification at Local and Regional Scales–addressed the value-laden challenges of sustainability planning and politics. This “class” of problem was christened “wicked” by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber in their seminal 1973 article.  As UCB Professors Charisma Acey and Karen Trapenberg

Conference Mobile App

Heading to the 2015 APA California Conference? Make sure you show up prepared with the conference mobile app. You’ll get the full conference schedule including speakers, maps, session details as well as the ability for AICP members to complete the CM conference evaluation form digitally; create your own personalized “My Schedule” containing events, mobile workshops,

NEW Global Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

NEWS–The World Has New SD Goals Historic Event. The Global Goals For Sustainable Development. “This weekend (Sept. 26-27, 2015) 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve three extraordinary things over the next 15 years: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change – in all countries, for all people.” See Bioregional’s

October 2015

Green infrastructure requirements for Bay Area. Laura Prickett, AICP. 76 Bay Area jurisdictions must adopt green infrastructure plans in 2019. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Welcome to Oakland and the 2015 APA California planning conference! Page 3 Why planners make good hackers. James Castañeda, AICP. Planners and hackers can gain knowledge and resources from each other. Page 5

Available Board Positions

The Board of APA California – Northern is seeking interested individuals for two positions: Communications Director Planning Commissioner Representative Associate Newsletter Editor San Francisco Reginal Activity Coordinator (RAC) Please review the Northern Section By-Laws for a description of each position. If interested in one of these positions please contact Erik S. Balsley, AICP, Section Director-Elect,

Sustainability at the APA California Conference 2015

The October 2015 Northern News, Plan-it sustainably Column summarizes the conferences sessions in terms of an emerging sustainability “pivot” from mitigation to regeneration. (see page 10) One of our blog posts expands on the Emerging Sustainability “Pivot” Column. Another blog post lists the Conference’s sustainability offerings: In addition, these two PDFs of the two blog

Too Late for 2 Degrees? The latest from the IPCC

. . . There is a lot of pressure to reduce greenhouse gases now, or else in 20 years we may have reached a point where scientists are not sure whether the conditions for life on Earth would be feasible. “Dr. Thomas Stocker, Co- Chair of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)  Working Group 1 and

News from Rio — The New UN Agenda for Sustainable Development

What are the implications for Planning, and for your community’s sustainability planning initiatives, now that the world’s nations have reached a “Historic UN Agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?” “This is the first time in human history that the entirety of humanity . . . has come together in agreement on a set of

The Biophilic Value “Thickens”

Urban metabolism is one new emerging arena of urban planning and design. It complements two other more traditional arenas: the growth dynamic or the urban built environment, real estate development, land economics, and demographics, and (2) health and quality of life (QoL). <<cite forthcoming>> In this tripartite scheme, biodiversity, biophilia, and integrating nature, or “habitat”

Integrating Nature Into the Built Environment – Impressive Practice and Resources

The Challenge of integrating nature into our buildings and cities has been forever changed by the biophilia hypothesis.  Such integration would nurture that elusive and shy direct connection to our essential human nature. We dearly need that connection on a daily basis for our development and on-going well being. A Biophilic approach also creates a

Getting to High Performance Districts, Cities, Regions & Sustainability

Charles Kelley, of ZGF Architects, presented his leading-edge approach and tools for designing high-performance districts to a core group of sustainability planners at SF Planning in late July. The idea arose from a conversation at a reception hosted by ZGF for the EcoDistrict Incubator program held in Portland this past spring. Charles and ZGF, along with

September 2015

Tracing the Urban Transportation Revolution, Sandy Smith, Next City. Advocates bring pedestrian- and bike-friendly practices and designs that are taking hold in today’s cities. Page 1 Opinion: Whither Bay Area planning? Dan Marks, AICP. An effort led by MTC to defund the regional planning function at ABAG and consolidate it under MTC is troubling. Page 3 Dispatch from Shenzhen, Riad

July/August 2015

Good news and bad for SF housing and commercial markets. Nina J. Gruen. The City’s amenities attract boomers and highly skilled millennials, but housing supply and availability woefully lag demand. Page 1 Adeline Corridor pop-up event highlights public participation. Kim Ngoc Le. Workshops and tours identified issues important to residents. Page 6 Collaborative spatial problem solving for diverse

APA California Conference 2015 Sustainability Sessions

The following is a selection of the main sustainability sessions at the Oakland Conference, including an informal pre-conference Sustainability Planning Meet-Up hosted by the Northern Section Sustainability Committee (Friday, Oct 2nd; see details below). FRI OCT 2 Sustainable Neighborhoods Pre-conference Meet-Up (5:30-8:30pm) hosted by the Northern Section Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Communities Division Champion (http://bit.ly/1dtKarQ)

Regenerative Urbanism – A Summary

This idea for a literature review of the emerging theoretical and practice arena of what usefully can be called “regenerative urbanism,” is worth the larger effort involved. Until then, this short summary and list of key resources will have to suffice. As 21st century planning and design accelerate out of the first decade, a variety

Nature in the City — Recent Biophilic Planning Waves and the Deeper River

A recent post in the APA Sustainable Communities Division Newsletter (http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0a196b8525f96edf44a4b3f53&id=50187e3c1b, e-Bulletin for 05/21/2015) included the following snippets of recent nature-in-the-city resources and events.   The larger movement these snippets represent is that of biophilic city planning and design being pioneered by, among others, the Biophilic Cities Network (launched October 2013, as the culmination of an

APA California 2015 Conference Sustainability Sessions — The Upcoming Sustainability “Pivot” From “Less Damage” to “Regenerative Urbanism”

The sustainability sessions in APA California’s Conference 2015 reflect emerging best practices in sustainability planning across the planning-design-build professions.  Topics covered include water reuse, urban food, GHG cap & trade, green infrastructure, spaces for makers, health, affordability, district-scale initiatives, equity, innovation economics, and resilience (the new sustainability).   These innovative techniques and policy trends can be

Sustainable Neighborhood Pre-Conference Tour and Social

The APA California Northern Section Sustainability Committee and the APA Sustainable Community Division’s Champion Program hosted Sustainable Neighborhood Sustainability Committee Pre-conference MeetUp at Swans Market in Old Oakland on Friday, October 2, 2015. About 30 members enjoyed complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, toured the adjacent C0-housing project (one of the oldest in the Nation) with the project sponsor,

Measuring Urban Sustainability: Evaluating the APA’s New Sustainability Accreditation Criteria

Cross-post from UCB IURD Blog, by Professor Charisma Acey. See also, the APA/UCB Class events: Evaluations–UCB/APA CompPlan Sustainability Criteria Testing APA’s Sustainability Accreditation Criteria on 11 Bay Area Cities Regional-Local Sustainability Planning in 11 Bay Area Cities [Post prepared by Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, founder/past co-director and Research Program Lead of the Northern Section’s Sustainability

June 2015

Planning grad in the working world. James Castañeda, AICP. Advice to emerging professionals getting ready to be planners in the real world. Page 1 Community shapes Urban Village concept with asset-based design. Jaime Scott Guthrie, Steve Le, and Todd Kubiak. Planning approach by graduate students sets three San José neighborhoods on a path to a healthier community. Page 9 Landscape urbanism

May 2015

My Oakland. Erika J. Sawyer, AICP, interviews Oakland resident and researcher Meera Velu. Seventh in a series in advance of the 2015 APA California Planning Conference in Oakland. Page 1 Director’s note. Andrea Ouse, AICP. Awards Gala May 15; fall conference update; regional events. Page 3 Where in the world? Photo by Marybeth Harasz, AICP. Page 5 Gentrified but still

Sustainable Water Policy Challenges

[cross-post from California Planning, March 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 02, p. 8 (here)] Imagine waking up one morning, turning on the tap, and water does not flow . . . , for the next 1,000 years, or it’s saltwater, or toxic! Extreme paranoia or our new normal? Hopefully the former! Yet each day we read stories

Passive House Brussels Tour – Benchmark for NYC Plan

Interested in a seeing-is believing tour of Passive House HQ Brussells?  Why . . . , not!  In September 2014 NYC Mayor De Blasio released an energy efficiency Plan for NYC called ‘One City: Built to Last‘. The Passive House standard is celebrated in the plan as the target benchmark for future energy performance of both new

April 2015

The Devil’s Slide Trail. Jonathan Berlin. How a state highway became a scenic paradise. Page 1 Who’s where. Veronica Flores, Thalia Leng, AICP, and Amit Price Patel. Page 5 Meet a local planner. Sian Llewellyn, FAICP, interviews Victoria Walker, Director, Community and Economic Development, Concord. Page 6 ACCESS magazine available. New emphasis on economic competitiveness in transportation. Page 11 Where in the world? Photo by Veronica Flores.

Planning for low-carbon communities

Making meaningful progress towards California’s climate mitigation goal — reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 — is one of the front-line sustainability challenges facing planners. This reduction is the minimum required globally to stay within a safe trajectory of global warming and, hopefully, climate re-stabilization. Meeting this challenge requires

Low-Carbon Communities Event

6:00 – 7:30 PM, SPUR, 654 Mission Street, SAN FRANCISCO. Beverages and light snacks available. A new, neighborhood-scale greenhouse gas inventory of the Bay Area suggests that responding effectively to climate change requires a more nuanced, place-based approach. The authors of the study – Chris Jones of UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, and

Living community patterns — bits and pieces of next-generation urban form?

On January 23rd at the Net Positive (Energy+Water) Conference in San Francisco, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) released their recently completed Living Community Patterns (LCP) – Exploratory Strategies for a Sustainable San Francisco, a research report prepared in collaboration with the San Francisco Planning Department. Planning teams can use this report to spur innovation

March 2015

My Oakland. Erika Sawyer, AICP, interviews Elizabeth Greene, AICP. Page 1 Director’s note, Andrea Ouse, AICP. P 3 Seattle grits its way through tunnel project. Josh Cohen, Next City. Will other cities will look to Bertha-like megaprojects that run over budget and reconsider plans to be the biggest and boldest? Page 5 Who’s where. Carmela Campbell, AICP; Dionne Early, Karly Kaufman, Stefanie Krantz,

Oakland Hills

Where the city meets the country Stretching 12 miles from the UC Berkeley Campus to San Leandro, the Oakland Hills are a world unto themselves. The hills rise from the Oakland flatlands to an elevation of about 1,500 feet along Skyline Boulevard. Visible from almost everywhere in Oakland, the hills are noted for their steep

Lake Merritt

The Crown Jewel of Oakland Lake Merritt is the epicenter of Oakland. Affectionately referred to as the city’s “crown jewel,” the Lake is to Oakland what Central Park is to New York, and the National Mall is to Washington DC. It is Oakland’s aesthetic and spiritual heart—a place where residents from all corners of the

February 2015

Why do we love City Planning? David Hogan, AICP. Contestants reply. Page 1 How much Public Space does a city need? Greg Scruggs, Next City. When we think about public space, we overlook the largest single public space asset in any city’s rolls: streets. Page 7 2015 APA Northern Section awards. Enter nominations by March 5 — recognize the best in


Beautiful enclave with stunning homes and landscaping The City of Piedmont is a small community surrounded by Oakland. It is a much sought after address, due to its appealing neighborhoods, excellent schools, and the prestige that comes with living in one of the country’s wealthiest communities. Incorporated in 1907 to avoid a pending annexation by

Piedmont Avenue

Shop Oakland! Piedmont Avenue is a commercial corridor branching off of Broadway on the south and ending at the Mountain View Cemetery on the north.  Not to be mistaken with the nearby City of Piedmont, Piedmont Avenue is located entirely in Oakland.  The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Broadway on the west and Oakland Avenue

San Leandro

Small town feel, active shoreline, strong efforts for business attraction San Leandro is located directly south of Oakland. Downtown is centered on East 14th Street between Davis Street and Thornton Street. San Leandro is one of the oldest cities in the East Bay and was the original county seat of Alameda County. Originally part of


Work Life Balance Emeryville is located in a corridor between the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, extending to the shore of the San Francisco Bay just north of the Bay Bridge. It is the home of Pixar Animation Studios, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Jamba Juice, and Clif Bar. In addition, several well-known biotech and software


Biggest Little City in the Bay Area Although Berkeley shares its border with Oakland, its neighbor to the south, its atmosphere is entirely different. Less rough around the edges, Berkeley is more family-oriented and relaxed. Although it is small in size (population 112,580), it is widely known around the entire nation due to both the


Island in the Bay The City of Alameda is located west of the City of Oakland. Originally connected to Oakland as a peninsula, Alameda became an island in the beginning of the 20th century when a canal was dredged between the two cities. Alameda has two main streets: Park Street on the south east side


Let’s go Oakland! The residential area north of the Coliseum BART Station is the start of recent transit oriented development. The Lion Creek Crossings apartment complex was built in 2006 on the site of the Coliseum Gardens public housing complex.  Single family homes are also located in this area bounded by 66th Avenue, International Boulevard,

West Oakland

Neighborhood in Transition The West Oakland neighborhood sits just west of downtown Oakland within the bounds of Interstate 580 to the north and Interstate 980 to the east. It is otherwise surrounded by Interstate 880 and by land owned by the Port of Oakland on the south and west ends.  This residential neighborhood with many


Arts Community Jingletown, also known as the North Kennedy Tract, is a small arts community in Fruitvale, East Oakland, located adjacent to the Oakland Estuary and bordered by the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880) and the Park Street and Fruitvale bridges. Jingletown was the site of a Costanoan shellmound, and later grew up into a majority


Convenient access to open space, community-driven revival The Dimond is centered at the intersection of Fruitvale Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. Before Interstate 580 was built, the borders were roughly School Street to the west, the Montclair Driving Range to the east, Park Avenue / City of Piedmont to the north and Lincoln Boulevard to the